By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, April 6, 2022–Guillermo Mantilla loves to race and it shows.
“He will get up on that block and he doesn’t care who he is next to,” said his Bronze Group coach Rose Lockie. “He is going to give his absolute heart to try and win. No matter what, he will get up and race. He is one of these kids who when he gets up on that block in his head ‘I want it.’ That’s something you can’t teach.”
Mantilla, who recently turned 11, was South Florida Aquatic Club’s top performer at the Florida Swimming-Florida Gold Coast All-Star Meet at Indian River State College.
Mantilla finished with five wins, four seconds and one third place in 10 individual and relay events over three days.
“I just wanted to do my best at that meet and go fast,” Mantilla said. “I did practice for that meet. I worked on my butterfly. I was happy with how it went.”
At the FGC 14-and-Under Junior Olympics in early March, which Mantilla calls his “best meet so far,” he won three events including the 100-yard backstroke (1:08.56) with 6.29-second time drop; 200-yard individual medley (2:29.92) with a 9.38-second time drop; and 100-yard freestyle (58.96, first time he broke 1 minute) with a 2.13-second time drop.
Mantilla was also third in the 500-yard freestyle in a best time 5:51.54 (16.89 time drop); third in the 50-yard freestyle in a best time 27.18 in prelims and 27.24 in finals (0.52 time drop); fourth in the 200-yard medley relay; third in the 100-yard individual medley in a best time 1:10.25 (5.28 time drop) and second in the 200-yard freestyle in a best time 2:09.84 (7.20 time drop). He was second in high point with 66 points for 10-and-unders.
“I was happiest with JOs, it was my best meet and I was happy,” Mantilla said. “I was really happy about my 100 free. It was my best time.”
Between JOs and All-Stars Lockie and her son Travis helped him tweak some of the “little things” that he was doing wrong.
“I like Coach Rose, she works hard on me,” Mantilla said. “She really helps me get better. I do a lot of push-ups for her. My arms are strong from all those push-ups.”
Lockie first coached Mantilla in Meteorites. When he moved into her Bronze Group he was the youngest boy. While there is still plenty to work on, “he has improved a lot, but you know he is going to get so much better in time when he works on the little things that he is doing terribly wrong.
“I am actually very fond of him even though he drives me crazy,” Lockie said. “I am forever, ‘Guillermo, get out, five push-ups.’ He tries hard at meets, but at practice he is lazy. Occasionally, he will put in his best effort but he is capable of so much more, but he’s young. He is a typical little boy who wants to goof and play around. He really is a good kid.”
Mantilla, a fifth grader at Indian Trace Elementary School, started swimming five years ago. He has been swimming at SOFLO for a little more than a year after swimming at the YMCA and Midtown Weston Aquatics. His sister, Tania, 14, and brother Diego, 6, also swim at SOFLO. He used to play soccer but now is focused solely on swimming.
“My family is a swim family,” Mantilla said. “My mom swims, my sister swims and my brother swims. I just followed them.”
Mantilla said swimming has helped him get excited about staying fit.
“Since I started at SOFLO I see a lot of improvement in my swimming,” Mantilla said. “I’m really competitive. It doesn’t really matter who is in the pool next to me. Michael Phelps could be next to me and I wouldn’t care. I just like to race.”
Right now, Mantilla is training for his summer meets including JOs. His long range goals include swimming high school and college.
“I definitely want to get faster,” he said. “I’m having fun practicing with my friends and seeing them, how they improve and how they are doing. I like my teammates. I like SOFLO because it’s a hard-working competitive club and they get you to go faster and be stronger.”
Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack. Mantilla joins SOFLO swimmers Tristan Dons (February) and Hashan Ekanayake (January) as 2022 TYR Swimmers of the Month.
SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.
TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology.
Among its male-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Michael Andrew, Tom Shields, Nic Fink, Townley Haas and Jordan Wilimovsky and other elite swimmers Matt Grevers, Maxime Rooney, Jacob Pebley and Ryan Lochte.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org