Former Ventura College swimmer Rafael Ingannamonte was featured this week in a post by the popular social media page and photoblog Humans of New York.
The Humans of New York page is run by photographer Brandon Stanton and has over 18 million followers on Facebook. It began as a project where Stanton would photograph portraits of everyday New Yorkers, which he intended to put on a map of the city. He quickly realized, though, that the subjects of his photographs had something to say, and included short quotes or stories of the subjects. The project has now taken him around the world and back again to New York.
Ingannamonte swam at Ventura College until 2010. In his post, the Venezuela native walked about his escape from Venezuela and the opportunity to do so that was afforded to him by swimming. He concluded with saying that he was on his way to swim. “It’s the only way I can escape the thoughts,” he said, of his childhood friends and their live of poverty in Venezuela.
Venezuela is currently in the middle of an internal conflict with both Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido claiming the country’s presidency. According to the AP News, major international nations have aligned on both sides of the conflict. The United States and most of the Americas, Australia, and Western Europe have recognized Guaido, while Russia, China, Turkey, South Africa, Egypt, Iran, and Cuba, among others, have sided with Maduro.
While at Ventura College, Ingannamonte was a Community College All-American in 4 events and contributed to a school record in the 200 medley relay.
When sharing the post to his personal Facebook page, Ingannamonte added a caption of his own: “Last week I was approached by the creator of humans of NY. He asked me what was on my mind. Here’s my story. Thankful for being an immigrant and all the sacrifice I have made to get to where I am.” Ingannamonte currently works in the fashion industry in New York.