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FINA (the International Swimming Federation) announced not to long ago that fellow Casa de Campo resident, Danilo Vicioso, recently ranked in the world’s top 10 in the 45 to 49 age group for Masters Swimming. Danilo made the list following a eventful year; ranking 6th in the 200-meter backstroke; 7th in the 200-meter butterfly and 10th in the 200-meter individual medley (all four strokes). He is still the only Dominican on the list, making him beyond all doubt a national treasure! Well done Danilo!
Danilo is not only a resident of Casa de Campo, editor of the Casa de Campo News newsletter, real estate agent for Tina Fanjul & Associates, but is also a world-class athlete! Curious to discover how such a busy man can achieve such athletic success, we did a quick interview, here’s what we learned.
Danilo on Professional Swimming and Sponsorship:
Keep in mind there’s no such thing as professional swimming unless you’re Michael Phelps and that’s only through endorsements and hardly ever as prize money for a competitions. I do get some sponsors, from private individuals, the government and the Swimming Federation. I feel the money is better spent on up and coming kids and the “open” category, because masters is more like a hobby for most of us.
I have to thank Alfonso Paniagua and Tom Wahl for allowing me to train at the La Romana Country Club (LRCC) facilities, by far the best 25 meter competition pool in the country, and [to] Central Romana, thru Frank Micheli for sponsoring my paticipation at all international meets. As well as [the] companies, Banco Popular and Banco BHD, along with villa owners including Stan & Maree Couldrey, Richard Turnely, Lou Gilmore and former villa owner Winston Lauder, who have helped out at one time or another with my travel expenses.
Danilo on Masters swimming; what is it and when did it start?
Masters swimming began in the early 70’s in gringolandia, when a group of retired college swimmers got together in Texas and held the first masters swim meet. Masters is nothing more than a competition for swimmers over 25 years old.
The age groups are set up in groups of 5 years so that you compete within your same age group. For example 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, etc. The last age group is the oldest person in the pool! It really is amazing to see what 80+ year olds can do!
Danilo on the start of his swimming career:
Swimming has been part of nearly all my life. In 1971 the DR [Dominican Republic] received an invitation to participate in the Caribbean and Centroamerican Age Group Swimming Championships in Havana. So, me and my 3 sisters with my dad as delegate and my mother as coach went to Cuba as the first sports team from the DR to participate in a sports event in Castro’s Cuba.
Danilo on starting masters swimming:
After I retired in 1990 I started to gain weight, my clothes were getting tight and I was out of shape. So it was either buying new clothes and staying out of shape or keeping my wardrobe intact and getting in shape. Swimming was something that I knew how to do, so I started to swim again to lose weight and get in shape. In 1993, as a motivation to stay in shape, I began competing again and have done ever since.
Danilo on his training regime:
I train and coach by myself. My first major test of the year will be at Indianapolis in early August at the United States Swimming Master Nationals followed by October at the PanAmerican Master Championships in Mexico and in November at the South American Championships in Argentina.
Danilo’s on his career highlights:
In the year 2000, in the USMS (United States Master Swimming) I won the ‘All America’ in the 400 metre Individual Medley – that is to have the top time in an event in a year. In 2003, I qualified for the National DR Swim team. It was at the Caribbean Swimming Age Group Championships in Curacao. I was swimming in the category of 18 and over.I was 39 at the time – almost 20 years older than the oldest swimmer before me!
I came back with a gold, for the relay, a silver and a bronze.I won 3 bronze medals in three FINA World Championships (Italy 2004,Stanford 2006 & Perth 2008) – these championships are the largest water competition in the world with an average of 8,000 participants!In April of 2008, I went to the XII World Championship in Perth, Australia where I won two bronze medals – I should have done much better, but I was hampered by a shoulder injury!
I’m the only person who has been on the National DR team in four different decades. I never made it to the Olympics, but I was scheduled to go to the PanAm Games in 1987 in Indianapolis (had earned the right),but politics got involved and it was not to be. I had one of the longest open (no age group) records in the books in the DR in the 200 individual medley (the same event where last year I was ranked 10th in the 45-49 age group). I did it in 1990 and just last year, after 18 years, the record was finally broken!
Congratulations Danilo!! And continued success – we are counting on you to keep making us proud!
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