Gold and a CAC Games record for swimmer Kristine Romano
Puerto Rican swimmers Kristine Romano and Portia del Rio Brown (Photo courtesy of COPUR)
Puerto Rican swimmer Kristine Romano won the 400-meter medley in record time earlier this week at the Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023 in El Salvador.
Meanwhile, debuting Puerto Rico teammate Portia del Río Brown took the bronze medal to share the podium with Romano.
Romano broke her own top time in the combined-stroke event at the regional competition, 4:46.31, which she established at Barranquilla 2018. On Tuesday she lowered her time to 4:45.47, winning the gold medal by some 15 meters.
“A lot of times you can’t have a plan. Many times you cannot control what other people can do in the race,” Romano said. “My plan is to swim hard from the start. I feel very proud that I could win the gold medal.”
Romano was congratulated by the president of Centro Caribe Sports, Luisín Mejías, as she left the pool, and received a hug from del Río Brown when they arrived at the tent of the Puerto Rico delegation. The rookie swimmer was in sixth place until the 200-meter mark, then little by little she gained ground, finishing in 4:59.81 to win bronze.
“I really tried to get everything out of my mind, because when I swim with nothing on my mind, I do better,” del Río Brown said. “After the first 200 meters I saw that I was a bit behind, and there I thought, ‘You have to be on the podium. You have to represent Puerto Rico well.’ And I did it.”
The silver medal went to Karen Rodríguez of Mexico, who held off del Río Brown to finish in 4:59.60.
López wins his first medal, in artistic gymnastics
José “Gussy” López of Puerto Rico won the bronze medal in the rings final at San Salvador 2023 on Tuesday.
“It took time to get the medal, but we got there,” said López, an advertising & marketing student at the Ferrer Rangel School of Communication at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. “Barranquilla 2018 really hit me very hard, because I was in four finals and I was left out. At that time, I read a letter from [former fencer] David Bernier, who pointed out that he did not have a medal in his first Games. That letter really, I had it in my mind, and I said to myself that ‘This is going to be my medal moment.’ That helped me.”
López finished with a score of 13,330. The gold medal went to Kristopher Bohorquez of Colombia with 13,900. Alejandro de la Cruz of Cuba was second with a score of 13,800.
“In this same routine I hurt my [left] shoulder a bit,” López said. “... It was talking to me. It told me ‘this is the last thing I have left. Now that I’m lowering the revs I feel a little sore. I have little left; it is not the time to think about the pain, and instead continue.”
The bronze medalist was to conclude his participation in San Salvador on Wednesday with the vault and parallel bars finals at the Merliot sports complex.
“I had the opportunity for my parents to see me live. It was nice,” López said. “I know their frustrations, what they do for me. The frustrations hurt a lot and they carry mine. As an athlete you want to get out, and they are there to tell me not to give up. This is theirs too.”