By Sharon Robb
August 17, 2014—It was a historical day for Florida swimmers at the 2014 IOC Youth Olympic Games Sunday in Nanjing, China.
Vietnam and El Salvador, not known for their swimming prowess, produced a gold and silver medalist on Day One of the six-day swimming competition .
Florida Swimming and Florida Gold Coast each produced a medalist.
Azura Florida Aquatics’ Marcelo Acosta also made history for his native El Salvador capturing the first Olympic medal in any sport for El Salvador.
Acosta, 18, had the swim of his young career to win a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle in a lifetime-best 3:51.32. He went 3:53.14 in prelims to earn the third seed for finals.
His previous best was 3:57.20 at the Santa Clara Grand Prix less than a year after going 4:02 at the World Championships. He was entered in the meet at 3:59.46.
“We were ready to swim faster in Nanjing and his result in prelims (3:53.14) was already amazing,” said his Azura coach Gianluca Alberani. “But what he did in final was extraordinary.
“He deserves this for the hard work and effort he put in practice every day,” Alberani said. “Nothing is impossible.”
Acosta is also entered in the 200- and 800-meter freestyles.
St. Augustine Cyclones Swim Team’s Nguyen Vien of Vietnam won the 200-meter individual medley in 2:12.66, capturing her country’s first gold medal in a major international swim meet.
Vien came from behind and surged ahead of Hong Kong’s 16-year-old world junior champion Siobhan Haughey in the final 50 meters. American Meghan Small took the bronze in 2:14.01.
Vien, 17, is her country’s top swimmer. She won nine gold medals, broke seven meet records and five Vietnam national records at the Southeast Asian Swimming Championships in Singapore in July. She is entered in nine events but will swim five in Nanjing. She is also the first Vietnamese swimmer to qualify for the 2005 World Championships in Russia.
In prelims, AquaKids Sharks’ Clara Smiddy, 18, of Team USA earned the No. 2 seed in the 100-meter backstroke final in 1:01.38 in the semifinals.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Timothy Wynter of Jamaica finished sixth in his 100-meter backstroke heat is 59.21.
Pine Crest Swimming’s Jordy Groters of Aruba was sixth in his 100-meter breaststroke heat in 1:03.96.
For swimming, prelims begin 10 p.m. and finals 6 a.m. East Coast time.
The Youth Olympics are an international multi-sport event held in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee that takes place every four years consistent with the format of the Olympic Games.
The Youth Olympic Games are designed to integrate sport with education and culture, inspiring participants to live by the Olympic values and become ambassadors of the Olympic spirit. It also could provide a dress rehearsal for 2016 Rio Olympic hopefuls.
China is hosting 3,800 athletes from 204 National Olympic Committees at the second Youth Olympics. During 13 days of competition in 32 sports, 222 medals events will be spread over 27 competition venues.
NBC, NBCSN and Universal Sports are combining for 54.5 hours of coverage through the Closing Ceremony on August 28.
NBC Sports Live Extra—NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices and tablets—will provide streaming coverage of all the Youth Olympic Games appearing on NBC and NBCSN.
For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at nbcsports.com/liveextra. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available for Apple, Android and Microsoft mobile devices and tablets.
Coverage of the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team can be found at TeamUSA.org and Twitter.com/USOlympic utilizing the #2014YOG hashtag.
For more information on the Games, visit Nanjing2014.com.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org