By Sharon Robb

June 6, 2016—Sebastian Lares of South Florida Aquatic Club will make his international debut in swimming at the June 9-13 Central American and Mexico Championships in Panama City, Panama.

CAMEX is an age group aquatics championship meet featuring teams from Central America and Mexico. It is held biennially and organized by CCCAN (Central American and Caribbean Swimming Confederation).

Lares, 12, and his older brother Andres Lares, 16, who swims for Azura, will represent Panama.

Sebastian Lares is entered in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter backstroke events, 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter freestyle in addition to relays. Andres Lares will compete in the 100-, 200- 400- and 1500-meter freestyles and relays.

The brothers were born in the U.S. and have dual citizenship. Both are members of the Panama national team in their age group divisions.

Sebastian Lares has been getting in some solid training with SOFLO Coach Rose Lockie and Bronze group for the CAMEX event.

The Lares family is scheduled to depart for Panama on Tuesday. He is eager to swim in front of his aunt who lives in Panama.

“I am pretty excited about it,” Sebastian Lares said. “I think it will be challenging but I think I can do it. I am a little nervous but I am confident in my training.”

Lares has been swimming since he was five years old. He has been swimming with SOFLO for four years.

“I started because my brother did it but then I fell in love with it,” Lares said.

Lares plans to focus on his strokes during the meet, he said.

“I feel like this is more for experience since it’s my first international meet,” Lares said. “My brother has gone the last two years. It’s my turn now. I’m going to try and do my best.

“It’s going to be good. I’ve been training hard especially on my breaststroke. I needed improvement. Coach Rose helps me a lot.”

Lares, who will be a seventh grader in the fall at Somerset Academy, would like to swim in college and Olympics.

“The Olympics are definitely my goal,” he said.

Lares has improved every season since he started swimming competitively.

“This is definitely my best season in swimming so far,” Lares said. “I did a lot of best times at the All-Star meet. It was a great experience and it helped my confidence.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at