The golden girl who triumphs in the pool

Diego encouraged Paula to compete, protects their routines and is excited about their progress. In the recent Galician Winter Championship, in Ponteareas, he was attentive to his anxiety and chills. He has celebrated the two medals that Paula won in his debut much more than the four of his own. Life flips the papers in its smooth passing. Diego is 42 years old. Paula turns 70 tomorrow. The son returns to the mother the loving attention she lavished on him as a child. They are partners in the master swimming team of the Real Club Náutico de Vigo. Soon the grandson will enroll in the lower categories, Enzo, who faces the 7 and “is already rearing his head”. "I am excited to share this hobby with them," celebrates Paula.

"We are excited to share this hobby," they say


Paula Marotto she played volleyball “as a young girl” and basketball. "A little," he clarifies. “It was very bad. I was short and that basket was very high”. also practiced gymnastics. The swimming It has been his most constant exercise. A bank employee, she took early retirement at the age of 55. From then on he began to frequent the swimming pool at the Náutico; two or three times a week, “but as a hobby. It is good for health. I didn't take it so seriously."

Diego specialized in triathlon, although the swimming segment always deprived him. “So I focused more on that,” he specifies. He joined the Náutico eight years ago. "The bug started to bite me and I asked to train with a trainer".

Diego Fernández and Paula Maroto, in the pool of the Real Club Náutico de Vigo. Marta G. Brea

-Delighted, but it's for to compete. Would be ideal. If not, you can come and swim on your own –they explained.

Perfect. I have no problem.

Since that dialogue, Diego has been part of the master's team. The section is focused on former swimmers or older people, with their jobs and things, who do this as hobby", Explain. “The coach, due to the pandemic, has focused more on the conventional categories and sends us the tables on WhatsApp. You set your own requirement. If you want to qualify for lower marks and medals, you will need a certain intensity and volume of training. But there is everything".

Diego is autonomous and it is organized to schedule the sessions first thing in the morning. Paula usually comes a little later. They had coincided long enough for Diego to notice his mother's good level in the pool.

Why don't you go to winter championship? There are swimmers your age and even older -he proposed.

“I had never competed nor had I thought about it. It seemed to me that it was not for me”


“It was hard for me to convince her”, remembers Diego and Paula confirms it: “I had never competed nor had I thought about it. It seemed to me that it was not for me." Diego, in this process of persuasion, found an ally in Ana Gonzalez Alegre; the oldest of the Náutico master team until the arrival of Paula, who was only a few months older. “Ana has been competing for years. It even goes to the Spanish Championships. It's marvelous. It encouraged me a lot”, explains Paula.

"If you don't try, you'll never know," he snapped.

“When you retire, it seems that you are already amortized for life. I decided to prove to my children and myself that I could”


"In the end I put it on as a challenge," agrees Paula, stung by her pride. “When you retire, it seems that you are already amortized for life, that you are no longer good for anything or at least that you cannot face new challenges. I decided to prove to my children and myself that I could.”

Her husband, Ramon, and Diego's brothers, Miguel Angel Y Olala, have enthusiastically supported her in this adventure that culminated last weekend in the Galician Championship organized in the Ponteareas municipal swimming pool. Paula remembers that day, with the tingling on the surface of her skin. “Nerves is the worst thing he has had. I was also worried about the cold because sometimes you have to spend two or three hours waiting for him to touch you and maybe you're in a wet swimsuit, wrapped in a towel”, says Diego solicitously. He recites the harangue he addressed to his mother.

-There will be very good people, who have been around for a long time. Forget about them. Everyone has their goal and yours is to enjoy. You are your own rival. Go live a new experience.

Diego also went to the championship and after so much time "you know better the possibilities and the expectations", he agrees. On Saturday, for those under 45 years of age, accumulated a gold in men's 4x50 styles, two silvers (50 free and 50 butterfly) and a bronze (100 styles). Paula had to jump into the water on Sunday. “My mother was more blind and I didn't know the rest of the swimmers either. Nor had I worried about seeing him so as not to put more pressure on him.

Diego won four medals but indicates: "His have much more merit"


Paula participated in 50 free and 100 back of over 70 years. In both tests he came out with energy. "You hear 'ready' and there you are, with the adrenaline rush," he describes. "In the first pitch you go through the air, concentrating on your breathing, the position of your head, your movements... Then you get scared on the way back, that you'll lack oxygen and it's going to cost you." An exaggerated concern, the result of inexperience. Paula dosed herself perfectly. It prevailed in both modes. “His medals have much more merit than mine; just for showing up”, boasts his son.

Diego Fernández and his mother Paula Maroto with the medals in the pool of the Real Club Náutico de Vigo. Marta G. Brea

Diego had anticipated that Paula would adequately manage the demands of the championship. He fixes others horizons: “She swims more than 1,000 meters in each training session. We have started with 50 and 100 meters. Let's try to put some 200 in it. It's more mental fear than anything else. It can more than enough”, he certifies when the mother hints: “Maybe it will cost me”. Paula would also like to improve her turning technique: “It's another step”.

"You can practice this sport until the end of days. To me, being the eldest of the team does not suppose any complex"


At the moment collect Congratulations, like those of her companions in the Allegro polyphonic choir, who received her this week shouting “champion”; “As if it came from the Tokyo Games. I am happy. It has been a fantastic experience”, he highlights. It is too soon to confirm whether he will participate in the Galician Summer Championship, the next master event for the Nautical. “My goal would be to lower my brands, which are very discreet. And try some more style”. In any case, he guarantees: “I will continue swimming, of course. you can practice this sport until the end of days. For me, being the eldest of the team does not imply any complex. Is law of life. It happens to all of us. And in my category I am the young lady. In the championship I have seen women over 80 years old approach the pool with crutches or walking with difficulty. And when they reached the water, don't you see how they swam...”.

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