Harrisonburg swimmer looks to qualify for 5th Olympics

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WCAV) — Omar Pinzon, a Harrisonburg man and Colombia native, is looking to make his fifth summer Olympics in swimming.

As a young swimmer from Colombia, Omar Pinzon used to dream about the biggest platform in sports.

“I sometimes wondered what it would be like to be part of the Olympics and representing my country and being at the highest levels of competition,” Pinzon said.

Pinzon represents his home country proudly, and is happy to give the world a positive view of Colombia.

“That makes me proud of carrying the flag and carrying the name of Colombia to different heights,” Pinzon said.

Omar is headed to Gwangju, South Korea for the FINA Aquatics World Championships, in hopes of qualifying for the summer 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

While he has the experience, his qualification is not a guarantee.

“Yes, I’ve been there, I’ve been at the Olympics,” Pinzon said, “but I think this is the one that’s really tough to make, so for me, I take it as a challenge.”

A resident of Harrisonburg, Omar reached out to UVA head swim coach Todd Desorbo to train with the team. The aquatic center is the closest high-level training facility to Pinzon.

Pinzon is now a youth swim coach alongside his wife Rami in Harrisonburg, hoping to leave his own legacy and leave his teachings to the swim team.

“Right now, it's a point in my life where I wanna help other swimmers and other athletes to become the better versions of themselves,” Pinzon said.