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ABARZA Alberto
Sport Para swimming
NPC Chile   
GenderMen
Age37
Place of BirthSantiago, CHI
Height1.70 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Impaired muscle power
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S2
Further Personal Information
Family
Partner Amber, daughters Becciee Saray and Amaia
Residence
Chile
Occupation
Athlete, Bank Employee
Languages
Spanish
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He first tried swimming at age two in Santiago, Chile, and at age 10 he began competing at the Teleton Rehabilitation Centre in Chile.
Why this sport?
He began swimming therapy to help his impairment. "Water is the only space where I feel I do not have an impairment because I do not depend on anybody. It's just the water and me."
Name of coach
Cristian Espindola, CHI, from 2018
Training Regime
He trains around five hours a day at the facilities of the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile.
Senior International Debut
Year
2014
Competing for
Chile
General Interest
Nicknames
Carolito, Beto (emol.com, 30 Dec 2017; Facebook profile, 21 Dec 2016)
Hobbies
Going to the beach, watching films. (Athlete, 10 Sep 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (latercera.com, 01 Jan 2022)
Most influential person in career
Former coach Sebastian Cardenas. (Athlete, 10 Sep 2019)
Hero / Idol
Chilean tennis player Marcelo Rios, Brazilian swimmer Cesar Cielo. (Athlete, 10 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Swimming is not an individual sport. Certainly I am the one who swims, but behind me there is a huge team and every single one is essential." (Teleton Chile, 10 Sep 2016)
Awards and honours
He and Para athlete Francisca Mardones were named Chlle's flag bearer for the opening ceremony at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (deportes13.cl, 20 Aug 2021)

He was the Chilean flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. (andina.pe, 24 Aug 2019)

He won the 2018 National Sports Award in Chile. (latercera.com, 19 Dec 2019; swimchile.cl, 19 Dec 2019; latercera.com, 21 May 2019)

He was named the 2018 Para Athlete of the Year by the Sports Journalists' Circle in Chile. (alairelibre.cl, 17 Dec 2018)

In 2017 and 2018 he was named Para Athlete of the Year by the Chilean Olympic Committee. (elperiscopio.cl, 12 Dec 2018; emol.com, 30 Dec 2017)
Impairment
At age two he was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. The condition affects the nervous system and causes degenerative muscle weakness. (Athlete, 10 Sep 2019; emol.com, 30 Dec 2017; ellibero.cl, 28 Dec 2015)
Other information
US INVITATION
In 2020 he declined an invitation from the United States of America to join their national Para swimming team. "They realised I had not competed for Chile for one year [due to the COVID-19 pandemic]. They offered me an apartment in New York, training, medical staff and a monthly wage, bigger than the Chilean one. But this is not about money. It's a good opportunity but I love my country for better or for worse. And I want to make a difference from Chile. [They invited me], I think, because I have a chance to win a medal [at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo]. It had never been my goal to go for it. I think everybody thinks I'm going to win, but I don't. I hope I will, and I will give my best to do it." (vergara240.udp.cl, 03 Sep 2020)

BREAK AND RETURN
At age 20 he lost mobility in his legs and decided to take time away from the sport. He returned to the sport two years later as part of his rehabilitation but was reluctant to enter high performance swimming. However, at age 24, his coach encouraged him to start taking the sport seriously and begin pursuing a career as a Para swimmer. (vergara240.udp.cl, 03 Sep 2020)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games (Overall)
Rank Year Event Result
8 2016 50m Backstroke S3 57.93 
9 2016 50m Freestyle S3 58.17 
1 2021 100m Backstroke S2 2:00.40
2 2021 200m Freestyle S2 4:14.17
2 2021 50m Backstroke S2 57.76
ParaPan American Games
Rank Year Event Result
1 2019 200m Freestyle S2 4:10.06
1 2019 50m Backstroke S2 58.25
1 2019 100m Backstroke S2 2:05.12
2 2019 50m Freestyle S2 59.10
2 2019 100m Freestyle S2 2:08.28
World Championships (Overall)
Rank Year Event Result
3 2017 50m Backstroke S2 56.32
3 2017 200m Freestyle S2 4:10.77
3 2017 100m Backstroke S2 2:01.56
3 2019 100m Backstroke S2 2:04.82
2 2019 200m Freestyle S2 4:19.51
4 2019 50m Backstroke S2 1:00.21
2 2022 100m Backstroke S2 2:00.45
2 2022 200m Freestyle S2 4:13.32
3 2022 50m Backstroke S2 57.38
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
1 2021 100m Backstroke S2 2:04.39
1 2021 200m Freestyle S2 4:16.17
2 2021 50m Backstroke S2 59.35