The Colombian Olympic Committee announced on Friday that it would be sending Jorge Murillo and Isabella Arcila to represent the country for swimming in Tokyo. Arcila will swim the 50 free and the 100 back, while Murillo will compete in the 100 and 200 breast. They will join the 56 other athletes who have already been selected for the 2020 Olympic Games for Colombia across all sports.
Both swimmers competed at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and hold Colombian national records. Arcila swam the 50 free, finishing 30th in a time of 25.35. Murillo, meanwhile, swam the 100 and 200 breast, making his way to the semi-finals in the 100. He ultimately touched 16th in 1:00.81, after breaking the Colombian national record in prelims (59.93).
Arcila trains year-round with the Mission Viejo Nadadores. She attended Southern Methodist University from 2012-2015. As a senior, she won 3 individual events at the 2015 American Conference Championships in the 50 free, 100 back, and 200 back. She set conference records in the 50 free and 100 back. Arcila helped lead the SMU women to their first conference title.
Murillo also trains in the United States. He swims year-round with the TAC Titans in North Carolina. He recently proved his readiness for the Olympics at the Indianapolis Pro Swim Series in March. He went a 1:00.74 in prelims of the 100 breast, putting him a second under the FINA ‘B’ standard. Additionally, he went a second under the cut in the 200 breast, when he went a 2:13.70 in finals.
Juan Manuel Morales Restrepo is notably missing from the team roster. He recently broke the Colombian national record in the 800 free while competing at the South American Championships in March. His time of 8:02.29 put him 6 seconds under the FINA ‘B’ standard. Last month, Restrepo competed at the Colombia Open Championships. He went a 1:49.07 in the 200 free, putting him under the FINA ‘B’ standard.
4-time Olympian Omar Pinzon will also not be traveling with the team this time around. He was chosen for the Rio Olympics in 2016 where he swam the 200 back, but he was not announced as a member of the team for Tokyo. Pinzon made his first Olympic debut in Athens in the summer of 2004. At the end of May, he competed at the Mare Nostrum, going a 54.76 in the 100 back and a 2:00.95 in the 200.
Colombia sent 3 men and 3 women to the 19th FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.
- Carlos Arturo Mehcha – 200 breast
- Jorge Murillo – 50 breast, 100 breast
- Omar Pinzon – 100 back, 200 back
- Maria Alvarez Pugliese – 200 free, 400 free
- Isabella Arcila – 100 back
- Sirena Rowe Cervantes – 50 fly, 100 free
Arcila finished 45th in her only event at the 2019 World Champs. She went a 1:04.07 in the 100 back, which was 2.7 seconds off of her best time. Her PB of 1:01.39 would have tied for 29th. Murillo was 40th in the 50 breast (28.36) and 33rd in the 100 breast (1:01.45). His best time would have been 18th.
Colombia made its largest appearance at the 2016 Rio Games. They sent 147 athletes and returned home with 8 Olympic medals. BMX rider Mariana Pajon became the first-ever Colombian to win two gold medals in any sport at the Olympic Games. She defended her title from 2016 in the women’s race.
Catrine Ibarguen won a gold medal for the triple jump and Oscar Figueroa won the title in weightlifting at his fourth and final Olympic appearance. The 5 remaining medals were earned in weightlifting, BMX riding, boxing, and wrestling.
The country has won a total of 29 medals across its 19 Summer Olympic appearances.