Last month, Gabriel Siwady ’19 represented Honduras in the 13th International Swimming Federation (FINA) World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Canada and recorded the fifth best time among college students in the 1500-meter freestyle. 

The international short-course (25 meters) championship is held every two years and hosts some of the world’s best swimmers from more than 150 countries, including Olympians Lilly King and Tom Shields of the United States, as well as Katinka Hosszu of Hungary and Chad Le Clos of South Africa.

Siwady has competed at junior international championships as a part of the Honduras national team since he was 15. This was his first time competing at the senior level.

Eight swimmers represented Honduras in different events, all of whom Siwady previously met back home or at other international championships. 

“Honduras is a very weak country in athletics, we don’t have the best swimmers in the world,” he said. “We don’t excel that much, but I was able to still perform well, despite that.”

He participated in two events: the 1500-meter freestyle and the 200-meter butterfly. In his stronger event, the 1500, he beat his personal record with a time of 16:32.62.

“If you train hard and you prepare well, in the moment you can accomplish your goals if you think about them everyday,” Siwady said. 

Though Siwady has been swimming competitively since he was five, the international stage can still be daunting. However, he embraced the high stakes and elite competition.

“I like that [the meet] has all the elaborate introductions,” Siwady said. “They play music when you are about to step on the starting blocks. I just liked seeing people from other countries, seeing fast Olympic swimmers who broke world records.”

Siwady believes his experience competing at the junior international level mentally prepared him to feel comfortable and succeed when competing at the senior level.  

“My first time [was in 2013], so I wasn’t used to competing at a global stage so I was little more nervous,” he said. “I had prepared well and performed well in that one too, but the whole experience was very new to me. This time around I really knew what I was doing, where I had to go and who I needed to talk to before my race.”

Siwady plans to continue representing Honduras during his time at Bowdoin and hopes to compete on an even more competitive stage. 

“I’m thinking about participating at the Olympics,” he said. “It depends on how I am with jobs after college, but it is a good objective to have.”