Luis Martinez, Guatemala’s First Olympic Swimming Finalist, Announces Retirement

Luis Martinez, a two-time Olympian from Guatemala and his country’s first-ever Olympic swimming finalist, announced his retirement from competitive swimming on Monday via Instagram.

Last year at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Martinez became Guatemala’s first Olympic swimming finalist when he made the final of the 100 fly. He went on to finish seventh in that race in a time of 51.09, which is a Guatemalan national record. Martinez actually set the Guatemalan record twice in Tokyo, as he went 51.29 in prelims to break his previous mark of 51.44 set at the 2019 Pan American Games.

What’s most incredible about Martinez’s 100 fly national record was that he lowered it by over six seconds in his career. Prior to him, the record was 57.72, a time recorded by Fernando Castellanos at the 2009 World Championships.

Prior to Martinez, there was not a single Guatemalan swimmer who had made it out of the prelims at the Olympics. In fact, the country only sent two swimmers to compete at the Tokyo Olympics last year, with the second one being universality swimmer Gabriela Martinez.

Martinez also competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, where he put up a time of 52.22 to finish 19th in the 100 fly prelims.

In addition to the Olympics, Martinez was also a 2019 Pan American Games silver medalist in the 100 fly and a 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games gold medalist in the same event. He also owns three other Central American and Caribbean Games silvers (50/100 fly in 2014, 50 fly in 2018), as well as six golds (100 free, 50 back, 50/100/200 fly, 4×200 free relay) and a silver (50 fly) from the 2017 Central American games.

Martinez currently holds Guatemalan national records in the 50/100/200 free, 100 back, 50/100/200 fly, 4×100 medley relay, and 4×200 free relay.

Martinez’s Best LCM Times:

  • 50 free: 22.61
  • 100 free: 50.61
  • 200 free: 1:51.79
  • 100 back: 57.22
  • 50 fly: 23.26
  • 100 fly: 51.09
  • 200 fly: 1:59.48

On a collegiate level, Martinez competed for the Missouri University of Science of Technology in the fall of 2014 before transferring to Auburn University in January 2015. He went on to to swim for the Tigers up until 2018, and was an NCAA qualifier in his sophomore, junior, and senior seasons. He was also a three-time All American, being a part of Auburn’s 200 and 400 prelims medley relays at 2017 NCAAs, and swimming in the finals on the team’s 200 free relay that finished 11th at 2018 NCAAs. At 2017 NCAAs, he placed 17th in the 100 fly in a time of 45.92, which was his career-highest individual finish at the meet.

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1 month ago

One of the hardest workers and coolest guys I’ve known – enjoy retirement dude!

1 month ago

One of the most inspiring swimmers in our sport. Wish there was more media covering his journey

Caleb Montrealez
1 month ago

Really puts an emphasis on the importance of timing for the success of an athletes career. Not saying he wasn’t successful, but he would’ve won gold at the 2012 Olympics with that time.

All the best Luis. You’ve sparked a fire in many fellow Guatemalans.

Lost Translation
1 month ago

Congrats on a great career Luis! You are the epitome of dreaming big, hard work and dedication. It was an honor to work with you and Guatemala Swimming.

1 month ago

That 51.09 was a huge swim, congrats on a great career

1 month ago


About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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