This article was written by Fati Martinez.
In his late twenties, Benjamín Hockin, the man who revolutionized Paraguayan swimming, is not done yet. The British-Paraguayan swimmer isn’t thinking about Tokyo yet, but rather focusing on competing year-by-year.
Born in Colombia, he swam for the British team in Beijing (4×100 free relay final), and then became the first Paraguayan swimmer to qualify for the Olympics by a A-time (200 free) in 2012.
Now, in Rio, things have changed. The man whose achievements gave Paraguay its first Olympic sized swimming pool in 2014 is turning 30 next month, and made the Rio Olympics by being the fastest in the nation with his 49.72 in the 100 free. In Rio De Janeiro, he swam a 50.08 to be 4th in his heat.
“I’m happy. The time was not good, but the feeling of being among the best swimmers here in Rio is priceless. I dove into the 100 free to enjoy myself, and did the best I could. Sadly, I couldn’t lower my personal best (Paraguay’s national record is 49.6), but I’m happy with what I’ve done, and to be at my 3rd Olympic Games”.
“(The goal was to lower the time I did in the Bahamas (49.72) to come here. But that’s how sport works. Sometimes you can’t make it. But the important thing is to give 100% of yourself, and that’s what I did. I’m satisfied and happy.”
With the experience of 3 Olympics now, he says he’s happier in Rio:
“I’m happier (laughs), although I didn’t reach my best time. I’m enjoying this unique experience, stroke by stroke, giving the best of me and getting out of the pool happy, which I haven’t felt in a really long time, but I finally got it”
Asked about Tokyo 2020, he didn’t want to confirm his retirement date.
“2020 sounds far away. But the 2016 short course worlds, absolutely” and continued: “Let’s go year by year. Race by race. But Benji will at least swim for a bit more time.”
With the A-time for London and the bronze medal in Pan Ams 2011, both in the 200 free, far behind him in time, “Benji” is betting on the 100 free this year.
“I’m enjoying it more. The 200 is turning a bit too long, but I’m starting to like the 100, I think I’ll swim more this event up to December”.