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  • 01 / 10 / 2007

Swimming Cuba

By Craig Lord

Cuba, a nation that once boasted the calibre of the likes of Rodolfo Falcon and Neisser Bent, will send just two swimmers to the world championships in Melbourne in March, head coach Luisa Mojarrieta has confirmed.

Heisy Villarreal, 20, and David Rodríguez, 18, will represent the Caribbean island. "Even though we are not in the best of shapes at the moment, its good for the nation to send a representation to the world championships," Mojarrieta told the Communist Party newspaper Granma.

Cuba sent just one swimmer, Antonio Hernández, to the 2005 world championships in Montreal. Both swimmers travelling to Melbourne will be paid for by FINA's development funding, money gratefully received no doubt in a nation that appears to have abandoned its backing of swimming at a time when focus and funding is concentrated on sports at which Cuba has been traditionally strong at Olympic level, namely baseball, athletics and boxing.

Villarreal set five national records on freestyle (50 - 26.12sec; 100 - 56.50; 200 - 2:01.86; 400 - 4:18.84) and butterfly (50 - 28.66sec) in recent months, while Rodríguez took the bronze medal over 300m backstroke in 2:05.37 at the central American Games last July in Cartagena, Colombia. Cuba will also send diving, synchro and women's water-polo teams to Melbourne.

Source: SwimmNews Online

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