The city of Buenos Aires, Argentina is hosting the 3rd Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) this week. 4000 athletes from all over the world have come together for an amazing competition, featuring all the classic traditions of the Olympics. It gives a taste of what the full-size edition is like, including the opening and closing ceremonies, Olympic village, and participation in front of crowds of thousands.
Two High Performance swimmers from the BISP Flying Fish Swim Team are taking part this year; Arijus Pavlidi (Year 12 student representing Lithuania) and Samuele Rossi (Year 13 student representing Seychelles).
“I feel very proud that my country has selected me, it is pure excitement at these events,” Says Sam.
The international stage is not new for either of these swimmers, with Sam participating in the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, and Arijus racing at the European Junior Championships over the summer. However, both agree that there is something especially exciting about being part of the Olympic movement. Read here.
Arijus, who will race the 50 Backstroke (Tuesday Oct 9th) and 200 Backstroke (Friday Oct 10th), is not intimidated by any sort of competition, he welcomes it. “I love racing next to high performance athletes, it helps me look forward to improving my skills.” The sixteen year-old is looking to break the Lithuanian U-17 record in the 200 Backstroke, which is less than a second off his current best time. With these big goals comes some healthy nervousness, but not without excitement just being a part of the YOG. “I am going to do the best that I can. There’s tough competition, but also great enjoyment of being there.”
Sam will compete first in the 100 Breaststroke (Sunday Oct 7th), and the 50 Breaststroke (Thursday Oct 11th).
Swimming at the Youth Olympic Games will hopefully open many new opportunities for Arijus and Sam. These young swimmers have much more to look forward to in the sport, and the exposure to this level of competition showcases their potential for the future.
Both boys have their sights set on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This experience in Buenos Aires is a huge and exciting accomplishment for them and their Coach, High Performance Head Coach Colin Braund, as well as another stepping stone for their sprouting swimming careers.