By Errol “DynamiX” Alegre Jr.
Twenty-year-old Chris Duenas began his swimming career 14 years ago in the icy, cold waters of the Agana swimming pool. The little six-year-old followed in his older brothers footsteps, heading to the swimming pool after baseball season was over. With years of experience under his belt, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Duenas has once again been given the opportunity to represent the island.
“After the last Olympics I took time for myself to see if I wanted to try anything new, but I realized that swimming was the only thing I wanted to do. A bad choice to take some time off, but now I’m motivated than ever to reach higher standards for Guam,” said Duenas.
The hardest part of being an athlete on Guam is that it is tough to balance out training and other responsibilities. But it can be done.
“I make everything work around my training schedule. That is key in preparation.”
And along with the responsibilities, trying to keep up with the pace of training that world-class athletes get daily can be tasking and maybe even discouraging, but not for Duenas.
“The world’s athletes are forever improving and I think the biggest obstacle in anyone’s training is having to keep up or get better than those around the world. Financially it’s a burden, but we do what we must to get to such events and get the correct training.”
Going to London, Duenas has only two goals in mind.
“My ultimate goal in the sport of swimming is to make finals in the Olympics and setting an example for those future Guam athletes.”
Duenas completely and wholeheartedly believes Guam can make it to the top and strives to better the quality of the sport here on the island.
“Guam can make such standards but it’s the right attitude and training that is going to get them there.”
“In 2007 at the age of 15 I ranked 3rd in the US for all 15 and 16 year olds which estimated to over a few thousand. The next year in 2008 I ranked number three in Australia for all 15 and 16 year olds. The number one ranked was a swimmer from Australia named James Magnussen who is now no. 1 in the world for the 100 free, at 16 we were only .30 apart from one another.”
“So we can do it, we just need to get motivated and do it right.”
Duenas contributes his success to his parents because the moment he felt like quitting, his family was there to encourage him to continue swimming. He is also especially thankful to his coach.
“…I would say that my coach, Ed Ching, would have played a major role in getting me back to where I should be and taking me to the next level of competition. He pushes me beyond my limit and does everything he can to keep me motivated. We bicker and argue but at the end of it all, I know he only wants the best for me. He is without selfishness throughout our training, putting me first is above everything and I couldn’t be more grateful. He is the toughest coach there ever will be for a long time, combining wisdom and sport knowledge; there isn’t a greater coach than him. Coach Ching doesn’t just build your body to withstand the pain but also the mind to stay strong when you’re tired and to push through anything.”
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