Underwater, while thunderous music plays over the stadium's public address system, Fernando Díaz del Río (19 years old, Las Palmas), lives in a world apart.
The outside noise is diluted and there is only him and his choreography, through which he tries to express everything that he cannot with words.
From time to time, he sticks his head outside to take a breath and flash a broad smile, that of someone living a dream.
And it is not for less, because this young Canarian has made history in the European swimming championships that are being held these days in Rome.
On the first occasion in which the men's individual synchronized swimming modality is disputed, Díaz del Río has won two silver medals, in free and technical.
“Right now I am proud of the effort I have made.
I am still not very aware of what this means, ”he admits to EL PAÍS.
His dream is to reach the Olympic Games.
At the moment, men cannot compete in synchro, since their discipline is not included in the Olympic program, although an Extraordinary FINA Congress will be held on October 3 to decide whether to admit it from the Paris 2024 Games. "We are fighting hard for our modality to be accepted in the Olympic Games and that would be my dream," says the 19-year-old, with the whole race ahead of him.
His connection with water began at a very young age, with a slight man-fish complex.
"Every time we went on vacation to the beach I was the first to go into the sea and the last to leave," he says.
But it was his sister, one of the people who has most influenced him in his life, the one who led him to sports life.
“My mother always told me when I was little that I had to do some sport and since I love the water I signed up for swimming.
My sister also signed up, and she began to practice artistic swimming.
I saw her and I loved what she made of her, I felt that it was something precious.
In each swimming training I began to imitate her and recreate the movements”.
Little by little he fell in love with the discipline, practicing the exercises that he saw his sister do, until she gave him the final push.
"A few years ago,
when they began to promote men's artistic swimming and it began to be included in important competitions, my sister told me to cheer up and I had no doubts”, he says.
"From there, everything that has come I owe to her."
In his first exercise, on Friday in the technical solo final, Díaz del Río performed the song
, I wanted to transmit energy."
With her interpretation he got 79.4951 points that earned him silver, the first medal in individual men's synchronized swimming for Spain.
This Sunday, in the free solo final, she has been launched to imitate the movements of a werewolf in the pool with the
theme , by Danny Elfman.
“It's risky, but I think you can like it”, he thought before the final.
The result is that he has managed to raise his score (83.3333 points) and a new silver medal.
He liked it.
The three medalists of the men's free solo final, Italian Giorgio Minisini with gold, Fernando Díaz del Rio with silver, and Frenchman Quentin Rakotomalala with bronze. ALBERTO PIZZOLI (AFP)
Unable to hide his smile, Díaz del Río proudly points out that artistic swimming has become his form of expression.
“I feel free to count on my body, underwater, things that maybe I wouldn't know how to say with words.
Capture a feeling you have inside and take it out.
I wanted to convey strength and courage”, he reflects.
For this young medalist, the inner world of each person is the most important thing there is, and that is why he studies psychology at the same time that he trains in the pools.
“I love psychology.
Everything that has to do with the functioning of the human mind has always interested me a lot.
In addition, in my career I have the chance to combine studies well with training”, he explains.
Although he has also competed on occasion in the duet mode, his preference is to do it alone.
“Swimming with company is a very nice feeling, that unites you with the one you swim with, but I think that by doing it I can only capture my emotions better.
You swim for the judges but also for yourself, to express yourself.”
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