Who is Isabella Arcila? The swimmer who shined in the Central American Games

The athlete stood out for getting four gold and three silver medals in the swimming competition in Barranquilla 2018

Who is Isabella Arcila? The swimmer who shined in the Central American Games

She is a prodigy and her results in the Olympic cicle proves it. The irruption of the Colombian Isabella Arcila, aged 23, in the past Central American and Caribbean Games, left many people speechless because of her way of swimming. Seven medals, four gold and three silver certify it.

Leer en español: ¿Quién es Isabella Arcila? La nadadora que sobresalió en los Juegos Centroamericanos

As reiterated by El Espectador, Arcila  had already distinguished herself in events like the Bolivarian Games (in the modality of back and 100 free meters) , in the South American Games of Cochabamba (100 free meters) and in the Central American and Caribbean ones. This last ones she stood out as the most successful of the Colombian delegation. Arcila, who currently resides in the United States, is a great bet of Colombia for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Her life was always linked to sports. According to El Espectador she practiced soccer, basketball and volleyball, but she was not passionate about being a team player. Hers was an individual discipline, because of her way of being competitive in which she does not tolerate losing. "At school we had a sports week and that was terrible for me, because we competed in all disciplines and always wanted to win them," she said.

The same dairy says that Arcila began her international journey with the Pacific Cup in Chile. Already at that time she was showing her ability when she wonthe gold medal in  the 100 breaststroke mode. Her good performance led her to be part of a Colombian team at age 12 and she began to participate internationally from the age of 13. She then took part in the South American Youth, the Central American Schools and the Grand Prix of the United States. That last competition opened the doors for her to stay and live in the country.

From there, her talent caught the attention of different university scouts. In short, it was decided by the SMU of Dallas, and in 2010,  she participated in the Olympic Youth Games in Singapore. "Those jousts were an awakening, because for the first time I measured against swimmers worldwide and this helped me to know what type of swimmer it was." El Espectador adds that her first sporting disappointment was not being able to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, although she managed to retaliate with the experience in Rio de Janeiro 2016.

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Like fish in the water

The Eduardo Movila aquatic complex was the perfect setting for Arcila in Barranquilla. The vallecaucana swimmer, in addition to the seven prizes mentioned in the joust, was awarded  four singles in which she participated including 50 free meters. In this competition the stopwatch stopped in 25.11 seconds, ahead of Liliana Ibáñez of México (25.15), and the Jamaican Ali Atkinson 25.47, according to data from El Heraldo.

El Heraldo adds that Arcila not only shone in the individual. Along with the women's relay team, made up of Sirena Rowe, Valentina Becerra and Salomé Vélez, she won the bronze in the combined 4x100 meters. In this competition they stopped the clock in 4: 13.73 minutes, behind Venezuela and Mexico.

Such was the domain of  the swimmer that even in the preliminary competitions of the 50 meters back (which athletes do not usually give the maximum as in the final test), beat the record of this competition to stop the clock in 28.16 seconds, according to El Tiempo.

The same media added that the mark surpassed by Arcila was held by the Mexican María González from the just past Veracruz 2014. The athlete of Guadalupe, Mathilde Jean, also left behind the record of Gonzalez with time of 28.52 seconds.

Motives of inspiration

Arcila mentions two important people who influenced her process. His sister Valentina and his first coach and mentor José Fernando Bermeo. For both she had words of thanks, which were compiled by El Espectador. "If she sets a goal there is no excuse, there are no buts. He understands very well the concept that cheating in training only affects one and that was a nice example for me ".

About Bermeo he added: "He was the one who sowed the seeds of what I am, the motivation to dream big. With him began my dream. I made Cali, Valle and later Colombia. If it had not been for his teachings I would not have become what I am ."


LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

Translated from "¿Quién es Isabella Arcila? La nadadora que sobresalió en los Juegos Centroamericanos"