Aussie brands Funky Trunks and Funkita aren’t just kitting out individual swimmers, their most recent photo shoot stateside brought swimming couple Omar Pinzon and Raminta Dvariskyte together for some happy snaps. Officially a ‘Funky’ couple, the pair of Olympians – Omar represented Colombia in 2004 and 2008, Raminta her native Lithuania in 2008 – posed up a storm, even showcasing matching prints. We caught up with the pair after their shoot to find out a little more about the poolside romance.
“We met a year ago and it was love at first sight. Rami was quite upfront about it, she was actually the one that asked me out. We went for sushi after a swim,” Omar recalls.
At this point Rami interjects, “He didn’t pay for my sushi so it wasn’t a date.” (We’ll leave that to them to sort out later.)
Having spent the majority of their elite careers in the US, both Omar and Rami are at the University of Southern California and train with the Trojan Swim Club under coach Dave Salo. Before winning a silver medal in the 200m backstroke at the 2011 Pan American Games, Pinzon (a former Florida Gator) was a 12-time NCAA All-American from 2006 to 2010. A multiple Lithuanian champion, Dvariskyte led her team to secure two Lithuanian records in the freestyle and medley relays at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.
With a tough training regime, both enjoy the benefits of dating a fellow swimmer.
“There are definitely perks. She understands my life and my routine better than anyone. She helps me and reminds me to stay on the right path to my goals. I do the same for her,” Omar says.
Rami says that living with Omar makes life considerably easier.
“I used to live with my sisters and they couldn’t understand why I was so tired all the time. With Omar if I just need a day on the couch on a Sunday to relax he understands.” (No doubt something that every swimmer understands!)
After his return to competitive swimming last year, Pinzon had a sensational swim at the Short Course World Championships in Doha finishing 6th in the 200m back. As for the upcoming World Championships, the Colombian is hopeful of a top five finish with one eye on the podium.
Omar takes inspiration from the struggles of his father’s upbringing in Colombia which he identifies as one of his main motivations to succeed in the pool.
“The way he raised us was to work hard and be dedicated, I carry that to the blocks with me every time. That lesson really resonates with me.”
Omar still travels back to his home club Nautilius Natacion to run swim clinics. He is also involved in the Olympic Outreach program doing poolside appearances to help disadvantaged communities while competing worldwide.
As for Rami, the Lithuanian team is yet to be announced but she is clear on her goal.
“The World Championships is a stop, Rio is the destination. I always believed that I could make it to an Olympics. I almost talked myself into it. Back home in Lithuania a lot of people were shocked when I did but I always knew I could do it. Along with my coach and my family I was the only one who believed in me. It would be great for both of us to make it in 2016. But if we do it will be all about the racing. It always comes first. We could enjoy it after we’re done. We spend enough time together at home.”
Let’s hope Omar is clear on that one too. Perhaps he’ll shout the sushi if they both achieve their Rio dream.
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