By Sharon Robb

June 14, 2016—Sebastian Lares of South Florida Aquatic Club wasted no time establishing himself in international swimming.

Lares, 12, made a successful international swimming debut at last week’s Central American and Mexico Championships in Panama City, Panama.

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

Lares, 12, representing Panama, competed in seven individual events. He swam six personal best times and won six medals including three individual and three as a relay member despite nursing a hamstring injury.

Lares took gold in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke events to earn the Central American champion title in his age group. He also captured a silver medal in the 50-meter backstroke.

On relays, Lares won a gold medal on the 4×100 medley relay; silver on the 4×100 relay and bronze on the 4×200 freestyle relay.

His times were: 32.59, 50-meter backstroke; 1:08.22, 100-meter butterfly; 2:14.74, 200-meter freestyle; 1:09.83, 100-meter backstroke; 2:30.72, 200-meter individual medley; 2:27.88, 200-meter backstroke; and 4:44.69, 400-meter freestyle.

Lares, a member of SOFLO’s Bronze Group, was born in the U.S. and has dual citizenship. He is a member of the Panama national team in his age group.

Lares was extremely happy with his meet performance and said he grew as a swimmer because of the experience against other swimmers he had never competed against. There were a few challenges including lack of sleep, but he ended up far exceeding his expectations.

Lares will be a seventh grader in the fall at Somerset Academy, where he will swim on the high school team.

Sharon Robb can be reached at