Mexico’s Miguel Alejandro de Lara Surging Toward Paris Games in 200 Breaststroke

Miguel de Lara

Mexico’s Miguel Alejandro de Lara Surging Toward Paris Games in 200 Breaststroke

Miguel Alejandro de Lara has become the first Mexican swimmer to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. De Lara qualified in the 200-meter breaststroke with a time of 2:09.60 at the Mexican qualifying meet. This was the first time de Lara broke the 2:10 barrier. After touching the wall, he did not realize what he had accomplished. It was not until he spoke to his friends and coaches that he realized he had qualified for the Olympics.

De Lara failed to qualify for the Games during the past two Olympic cycles, but his perseverance has paid off.

The Obstacle

One of the biggest obstacles de Lara has faced is his financial situation.

“I don’t come from a wealthy family, so attending any meets was always challenging,” de Lara said.

Still, the financial demands have not stopped him from achieving his goals. Along the way, he has organized raffles to offset the costs of hotel rooms, food and transportation for the meets. More, he practiced in Mexico in a small pool that was meant for teaching small kids and babies how to swim.

“The pool didn’t have starting blocks, so I could never practice starts, and it was about three feet deep,” he said. “Therefore, the turns and underwaters were always interesting.”

De Lara also mentioned the lack of support from the Mexican Federation. Most Mexican swimmers stopped receiving financial support from the federation at the end of 2019.

“The Mexican federation has never been excellent at supporting swimming in Mexico, but it got way worse as of late,” he said.

While the Mexican Federation has come up short for its swimmers, de Lara has benefited from the guidance of coach Sergio Lopez and Nelson Vargas, who has been sponsoring and supporting several Mexican swimmers. De Lara assured that if it was not for “Nelson Vargas Family Fitness,” many elite Mexican swimmers would have quit the sport.

The Reward

De Lara has consistently been fueled by the support of his family.

“My family always believed in me, and they let me go after my dreams, and that is something I don’t think many people experience,” he said.

De Lara noted the positives of sleeping well, eating right and caring for his mind.

“If you work on acquiring good habits, getting rid of bad ones for long enough, eventually you’ll see results,” he said. “It is just hard work for long enough that equals good results. I believe we all face our demons at some point, and the thought of quitting, inadequacy, or unhappiness crosses the head of anyone that wants to achieve something great. That’s why excellence is so rare. Not everyone can silence those thoughts and keep working toward a goal.”

A little more than a year shy of the Olympic Games, de Lara has pegged several meets which will help prepare. He will attend the Central American Games in El Salvador at the end of June, followed by the World Championships in Fukuoka in July. He knows Paris will arrive in quick fashion.

“I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing,” he said. “There is no need for anything extra, just try to be better every day, and I know I’ll have a great result.”

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