2024 Paris Olympics

Addison resident to represent Mexico in swimming at Paris Olympics

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Gabriel Castaño-Garcia said he is ready for his second chance at an Olympic medal.

"Its a unique feeling," Castaño-Garcia said. "This is my second Olympics, but I feel like this is, in reality, my first Olympics in a way because of the Tokyo Olympics and everything that happened there."

He lives in Addison, but trains in Frisco and said he is nothing but honored to be able to represent Mexico, especially overcoming several hurdles.

"It's actually been a pretty tough year. I actually started back up. I retired and I came back summer of last year [2023]. It's been a long fall, winter, spring, long year in general. The results weren't so great at the beginning of the year, but all eyes were on San Antonio in April. That was my big meet that I wanted to qualify in." Castaño-Garcia said.

Then, he qualified, and the mindset changed.

"Once I qualified, I was able to really take a step back and to enjoy the process, unlike the previous Olympics where I qualified very late last minute. So I feel very happy to have a little bit more time to prepare and to really fix those issues that I know were holding me back a little bit."

Considering many Olympians have been swimming much of their life, he can't say that. Castaño-Garcia said he didn't start swimming until high school. He put down mountain biking, which was his first love, in hopes of finding a sport he could compete in in college. He would go on to be a decorated swimmer for Penn State University.

It wasn't that the Olympics were out of the question, its just that in his young career he really wasn't thinking about it, but now, really hitting a stride.

"Obviously, I felt like my full potential has been finally, not fully achieved, but almost. I feel like I've finally gotten a good training cycle in and I feel like everything, as far as my diet, my sleep, everything is good. And there's obviously more things to fix, but that was a great starting point leading up to the Olympics," he said.

His current focus is to keep the nerves down and the training going.

"As far as the pressure, I think that that's something that I'm trying to minimize for myself. I know that I'm a high-stress individual, so as soon as I start thinking about the expectations and the media and all that stuff, I try to, you know, not think about it because it does stress me out," he said.

It's not lost on him how hard the field will be in the pool, but he said the best he can do is focus on what he can control,

"I'm very excited and very honored to be there. I want to give Mexico a final again since 1968 that hasn't happened. So I guess that's giving myself a little bit of pressure, but I do think that's the bare minimum for myself. I really want to hold myself to that standard and to make sure that that happens this year because, who knows, it could be my last, it could be Los Angeles (2028)," he said.

Castaño-Gacia's specialty is the men's freestyle. Swimming events are from July 26 to August 11.

Read about more North Texas Hometown Hopefuls leading up to the Paris Olympics where the Opening Ceremony will officially start the games on Friday, July 26.

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