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Anicka Delgado is an Ecuadorian Olympic swimmer. Recently, Anicka competed at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, where she earned a 25th place in the 50M freestyle and 33rd in the 100M freestyle, both swims in national record times. Anicka was the youngest swimmer to break into the top 25 in the 50M freestyle at the Olympic Games, setting her up in a great position for the Paris 2024 Olympics next year
+Beryll: Anicka – Can you share the story behind your rise to becoming a world renowned swimmer at such a young age?
I started swimming around the age of 7 on a swim team. Funny story- I actually hated it to begin with. I remember lying about having a stomachache at my first ever swim practice just so that I could get out early. Eventually, swim practice became a part of my routine and I grew to love the sport through the friends I had made along the way.
Being motivated by my peers and small achievements, I began swimming for Ecuador at the age of 13. I started at some smaller federation meets and made my way up to international competitions.
+Beryll: As a dual citizen of the US and Ecuador, what influenced your decision to represent Ecuador?
Since I started swimming at a young age, I grew a huge appreciation and sense of pride for representing the country where my family comes from. Swimming for Ecuador has given me more opportunities than I could have ever dreamed of. I have also cultivated incredible relationships and experiences over my years representing them.
+Beryll: What is your source of inspiration?
When it comes to what inspires me, it all begins with the people I hold closest to my heart: my family and friends. Their unwavering support and encouragement have been the driving force behind my pursuit to be the best version of myself, whether I'm in or out of the water.
Also, the water itself holds a special place in my life as a wellspring of inspiration. It's not just a place of competition but also one that gives me a ton of peace. The comfort that I find in the water makes it easy for me to do my job in practice every day.
+Beryll: Tell us about your first experience at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. How did you prepare both physically and mentally?
For two solid years leading up to the Olympic Games, I trained one-on-one with my father/coach.
The training was tough, both physically and mentally. I didn't have many training partners, which made it tough to stay motivated and confident during practice sessions.
In July 2021, the Tokyo Olympics finally arrived, and I got the chance to compete in the 100 and 50 freestyle events. One thing that made me feel the most grounded and secure in my performance was my preparation. Stepping onto that Olympic stage, I knew I had done everything I could, and all that remained was to enjoy the experience, to be part of something truly special. The experience was one of a kind, even though it was a covid year and we were required to be out of the country within 48 hours of competing. We also weren't allowed to leave the Olympic village during our time in Japan-- And yes. The beds were made out of cardboard.
+Beryll: As a master’s student and professional athlete, how do you find balance?
To balance my hectic schedule between school and swim, I really make it a priority to give myself grace and some “me time”. I rarely ever stay up too late doing homework or studying because my sleep is #1 for me. Plus, I'm all about treating myself from time to time. Whether it's a eating out or just a little splurge on something nice, it's my way of patting myself on the back and keeping the daily grind in check.
+Beryll: The support system around an athlete often plays a crucial role. Could you discuss the role your coaches, mentors, and family have had in your achievements?
Of course, my family has always been my number one support. My mom deserves a gold medal for all those times driving me to practice, and my dad for the countless hours he has spent coaching me in my career.
My siblings – they're my ultimate cheer squad, always there, whether it's a local meet or 3am watching me on television at the Olympics. In fact, right before my very first Olympic race, my dad told me: "Whether you finish first or dead last, remember, Mila (our dog) will always greet you the same way when you come home." That's the kind of perspective that keeps me grounded.
My coaches have also played a huge role in my swimming career. I really believe they do make or break your experience in sport and lucky for me– growing up I had some pretty great coaches.
+Beryll: Your success undoubtedly serves as an inspiration to aspiring swimmers in Ecuador and beyond. What advice would you offer to young athletes at the start of their career?
Some advice I would offer to any aspiring swimmer is to not take yourself too seriously. There'll be moments when you need to buckle down and get serious – you'll feel it when it counts. But for the most part, there needs to be room for enjoyment and even some mistakes. There will be good days, but there are also going to be bad ones, and that's so okay.
+Beryll: Has your mindset changed from your participation in your first time at the Olympics?
While I maintain a strong sense of dedication and focus, I'm also mindful of balancing it with enjoyment. It's about finding that balance between hard work and having a good time.
+Beryll: Tell us about your recent collaboration with +Beryll.
Recently, I shot with photographers Zion Gordon and Celina Kenyon for fun film beach shoots for +Beryll. Their line is seriously the most comfortable and the perfect balance between chic, elegant, and everyday casual. One of my favorite pieces is their silk pants that I can just throw on after practice and still look extremely put together.
+Beryll: Thank you for being a part of the +Beryll team, we look forward to watching you compete next year.
I am beyond excited for the opportunity to be a part of the +Beryll team and can't wait for what this next year has in store.