Nevarez Aims for BIG EAST title, Olympic bid|
Jan. 25, 2012
By Megan Roehm
As the University of Cincinnati swimming and diving team prepares for the Big East Championships next month, Junior Roberto Nevarez will go the extra mile, as he also trains for the Olympic Trials for the Mexico Olympic Team.
Nevarez wanted to qualify for the Mexico Olympic trials, but said he also really wanted to stay and train with the Bearcats for the Big East Championship instead. He ended up doing both when he qualified in three different events at the Miami Invitational by placing in the top eight. In those events, Nevarez is also ranked sixth in Mexico.
"I would love to represent the University of Cincinnati in the Big East Championships so the other way to qualify was to be the eighth fastest time at nationals in December," he said. "I qualified at the Miami Invite in three events already."
While he is excited to go to the trials, Nevarez keeps his role of a Bearcat as his top priority. He has always wanted to go to UC He said he loves going to school here and competing with his team more than he ever thought he could.
"I feel like the team at home was never as close as we are here and it was more like an individual sport," Nevarez said. "You were part of a team but you're also on your own for the most part. Here you are part of a team and I love the support. You are swimming for the University of Cincinnati and not just for yourself."
While Nevarez says adjusting to the lifestyle in the United States and living on his own has been difficult, he said he loves Cincinnati and has become more independent, and he credits his team for helping him to adjust more easily.
"My teammates have made it a great experience for me," he said. "It was easier to learn the culture and adjust and I really love how everything is set up and the support you get from the team."
Nevarez's older brother Sergio also swam at the University of Cincinnati for two years, and a family visit to the campus is what made Nevarez decide he would swim as a Bearcat as well. Head Coach Monty Hopkins was pleased to have Nevarez and describes him as one of the strongest swimmers on the team. He said he has the work ethic and passion it takes to excel as a swimmer.
"Nevarez is the kind of guy that is constantly ambitious and he responds to being challenged in a way that I am really proud of," Hopkins said. "He's really constructed his own success by stepping up to challenges."
Hopkins said since freshman year, Nevarez has gotten stronger, works hard to get faster, and is very easy to coach. He said a lot of his success and improvement comes from the amount of effort he gives out. He didn't know about Nevarez qualifying for the trials, but said he was not surprised that it happened.
"I didn't even know, but I was expecting it," Hopkins said. "I am actually expecting him to final at the trials and I think he is going to keep getting better between this year and next year."
Hopkins sees a bright future for Nevarez in both swimming and in his professional life, while Nevarez takes his goals step by step.
"I like to keep my short-term goals more important than my long-term goals, so right now my first priority is to be 100% for the Big East Championships next month," he said. "After that, I'm going to get back in the pool right away and start training for trials. That's priority number two."
From there, Nevarez hopes to do even better in the Big East Championships in his senior year, followed by earning a spot on the National team to compete in Barcelona next year. According to Coach Hopkins, this should not be a problem.
"He really cares about doing well, everyone knows they can count on him and he always gives his best effort," Hopkins said. "He has earned everything he has achieved and he will go on to do great things."