U.S.-Trained Swimmers Dominate at Central American-Caribbean Games -- November 27, 2002
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, Nov. 26. AMERICAN-trained Latin swimmers continue dominating the victory podium after the third day of competition at the XIX Central American-Caribbean Games here.
Former University of Tennessee All-America Ricardo Busquets, representing his native Puerto Rico, won the 100 free in 50.25. Former Arizona State Sun Devil Francisco Sanchez -- who represents Venezuela and holds the Games' record (50.03 when the competition was in Maracaibo four years ago) -- finaled in the 100 fly, taking second behind Mexico's Josh Illika.
Illika, a former USC Trojan for Coach Mark Schubert, won with his 53.86, tying Sanchez's Games' record. His time was just off his pr/NR 53.78 from the Janet Evans Invitational at his "home" McDonald's Olympic Pool in Los Angeles two summers ago.
Former Yalie George Gleason, who is a native of the U.S. Virgin Islands, finished fifth in the 100 free (52.25).
Sanchez's pr/NR in the 100 free is 49.59 from the prelims of the Atlanta Olympics. In the 100 fly his pr/NR is 53.39, and that swim won him the gold at the last Pan-Am Games in Winnipeg (1999). He may well be on the deck come next summer's Pan-Ams in Santo Domingo too.
Busquests holds Vol records in the 50-100 yard freestyles and has a 100 meter free pr/NR of 49.61, also from Atlanta.
Both swimmers are in their late 20s but don't be surprised if they go for one last shot at the gold in Athens.
On the women's side, current Auburn sprint star Eileen Coporropa who won the 100 free in 56.58, will be out to make it a double when she competes in the 50 free on Friday.
Current University of Arizona Wildcat Juan Veloz, a junior for Coach Frank Busch and a native of Mexico, won the 400 IM in 4:31.93. An excellent 200 flyer, Veloz will be trying to add gold in this race too -- but he'll be challenged by Puerto Rico's Andrew Livingston-Connors, a former UNLV Rebel -- who has a pr of 1:57.94 from the semis of last summer's World Championships. Veloz holds the Mexican record with a 1:58.85 from the prelims of Fukuoka.
Two more American-trained collegians who finaled include Mexica's Juan Rodela, who swims for Purdue and earned a silver in the 200 back (2:05.35); and former George Washington Atlantic 100 breaststroke champ Alvaro Fortuno, a Guatemalan who was fifth here in the 100 breast.