19 de abril de 2024

Radio 26 – Matanzas, Cuba

Emisora provincial de Matanzas, Cuba, La Radio de tu Corazón

Andy Manuel, the story of the first Cuban in artistic swimming.

Inside the pool, to the rhythm of the music, Andy Manuel Avila seems to forget the rest of the world, he dives and turns, then re-emerges with a movement full of energy, smiles, enjoys.

He has lived among the smell of chlorine and the sounds of whistles since he was seven years old, practicing diving, but it was not until almost a decade later when he discovered his true passion in a discipline reserved almost entirely for women, artistic swimming.

A couple of years ago someone went to the Initiation Sports School (Eide) of Matanzas to look for a talent that could represent the country in the mixed duo of the sport in the Pan American Youth Games of Cali-Valle 2021, I was selected and I accepted, after a previous consultation with my mother, says now the young man of 18 years old.

I had a lot of doubts at that time, many friends told me that this sport was for women, that it was not for men, but I decided to try and to this day, I found in aquatic dance a feeling that I had not experienced until then and an additional motivation to give myself entirely to the sport in search of results, he confesses.

Andy Manuel, a music lover with exceptional conditions such as joint mobility, flexibility and coordination, competed in the Colombian sporting event together with the main figure of the Island, Gabriela Alpajón, obtaining a fifth place with an accumulated 128.9052 points.

At just 17 years old, he was included in the final of the Artistic Swimming World Championship in Budapest, Hungary 2022, together with his current teammate Soila Carely Valdés and, a few months later, he won the ticket to the Central American Games in San Salvador, which will begin next June.


I don’t know about the impossible, I want to succeed in artistic swimming, be a recognized figure in the area and why not, participate in the Olympic Games, says the hopeful athlete, admirer of figures like Billy May, the first male world champion in the discipline.

On December the 22nd, 2022, World Aquatics (formerly Fina) announced that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved men’s participation in the artistic swimming team event in Paris 2024, with a maximum of two male competitors per team.

While artistic swimming has been part of the Olympic program since 1984, until now it has always been a women-only sport, however, this change represents another step in the IOC’s mission to achieve gender equality at the Games.

Photos: Courtesy of the source

written by John Vila/ ACN



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