At the 2011 Pan American Games, the breakout sensation was Cuban sprinter Hanser Garcia, who has created some buzz around Latin-American swimming, and he will now see himself in a new, foreign training ground for the months of January and February.
He placed behind only the great Cesar Cielo in the 100 freestyle with a 48.34, and behind only Cielo and another Brazilian Bruno Fratus in the 50 free with a 22.15.
That 100 freestyle time ranks him 12th in the world this year, despite having never made nary a ripple in the world of water previously. Furthermore, his technique was pretty bad, with poor starts, turns, and underwaters (owing to his background as a water polo player).
Because of problems with the Cuban training facility (he was training only in an outdoor 25-meter course), he and his coach Lili Mojarrieta are being sent to train in Peru, according to the Cuban news site CubaDebate.
One would presume that he will be training in Lima, probably at the pool that recently hosted the Fina Junior World Championships (Piscina Olímpica Campo De Marte), which is a very nice outdoor 50 meter, but that’s not confirmed.
The swimmers who is known locally as “the Chicken” is now one of the best darkhorse medal candidates from any event at the Olympics. He’s got good height at about 6’4, and fairly obvious areas for improvement. The presumed reason why Peru was chosen was because of cost – it would have likely been much more expensive for him to go and train at one of the elite swimming countries like Brazil (though, wouldn’t the Brazilians have loved to have him to attempt to get him to defect – they’d be medalists with his addition to the 400 free relay).