Longhorns Olympics Trials spotlight: Susana Escobar
June 22, 2012
Elissa Schneiderman, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas -- Since graduating in 2010, Texas ex and Mexican National Team swimmer Susana Escobar has been training hard with one goal in mind: to qualify for the Olympics for the second time.
"Since graduating, I've basically just been swimming," Escobar said. "Graduating two years before the Olympics, you might as well keep doing it. It's just two extra years."
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Escobar set three Mexican records--one for each event she swam.
Unlike the United States, which uses an Olympic Team Trials event to determine its Olympic roster, most other countries, including Mexico, slot their team on the basis of recent performance.
In order to qualify for the Olympics, swimmers must meet one of two time standards between March 1, 2011 and July 3, 2012 in an event sanctioned by FINA, the International Swimming Federation.
FINA permits each country to enter up to two qualified swimmers per individual event in the Olympic Games, provided that both swimmers meet the Qualifying standard. A country may enter one swimmer per event that meets the Invitation standard. If no swimmers make the cut, one male and one female swimmer may be entered on the basis of ranking.
Escobar was notified on Wednesday that she would be going to her second Olympic Games this summer. Escobar, who competed in the 800 freestyle in Beijing in 2008, will be one of five swimmers representing Mexico this summer in London. In 2008, she finished 18th in the event with a time of 8:33.51.
Her top time this year in the 800 freestyle was 8:42.45, which is the top time in the event in Mexico for 2012.
"The thing is, the 'A cut' (Qualifying standard) for the 800 is actually my best time," Escobar said. "I swam it back in 2008 after my sophomore year."
However, due to both illness and injury, Escobar has struggled to swim as quickly in subsequent years.
"Junior year and senior year were kind of a rough road for me," Escobar said. "I got injured and I got sick, so I was down for a while. It was kind of hard for me to get back up."
Escobar knows what it will take to secure the opportunity to swim in London.
"If I want to make it to the Olympics, I'll have to go faster," Escobar said.
While Escobar's Olympic dreams have been in flux until recently, one thing remains constant in her life: the devotion and admiration she feels for her large, close-knit family.
"My family is number one (in my life) by far. No question about it," Escobar said.
Escobar has five siblings, literally spread across the world. Among them, one sister is the head swimming coach for the Hamilton Aquatic Club in Ontario, Canada. Another sister lives in Austria and her oldest brother teaches salsa and is a tour guide in Germany.
Escobar's parents own a bakery in her hometown of Queretaro, Mexico, which is about two hours away from Mexico City. She credits her parents for her successes and the success of her siblings.
"My parents are by far, hands down, the two people I respect and look up to the most," Escobar said. "If it wasn't for them, I would not be here. I don't think my siblings would be where they are, either. They have an incredible attitude and knowledge."
Though the Escobar family spans the globe, they assembled in Mexico last December to celebrate a double wedding for her older brother and sister and their respective spouses.
"It was a really, really nice party," Escobar said of the event. "There were people from all over the world: France, Austria, Germany, and our friends from South and Central America. It was amazing. We had a great time."
And when they gather, there is one activity the Escobar siblings love to do together.
"I absolutely love dancing. I love salsa dancing," Escobar explained. "At parties and weddings, I remember my siblings and me killing it on the dance floor."
Most importantly, Escobar's parents are proud of their children.
"They are really happy that we are happy," Escobar said. "They're proud of us for going out and following whatever we want to do."