Puerto Rico Draws Rosario Back Home For Swimming, Family, Food...And The Beaches!
It seems like a lifetime ago since Diego Rosario lived in Puerto Rico.
But his memories are vivid.
The food, his family, and…
“The beaches,” Rosario said with a smile. “I remember the beautiful beaches.”
Rosario, a junior at Stevenson, was born in Puerto Rico, and grew up in Trujillo Alto, outside of San Juan.
A member of the varsity swim team at Stevenson that won state last year, Rosario can trace his swimming roots all the way back to his native country.
“I was just a beginner there, but that’s where I learned,” Rosario said. “I was just (taking lessons) so that I could swim. Just the basics. Nothing serious.”
Just last month though, swimming in Puerto Rico suddenly got very serious for Rosario.
He took a chance and entered the Puerto Rico International Swimming Open, mostly for the fun of returning to and competing in the country he was born in, but also to test the waters and see how he might fare against top international competitors.
Rosario, who left Puerto Rico when he was 7 years old due to a job change for his Dad, wound up placing in three events: third in 100 butterfly, fourth in the 200 butterfly and fifth in the 100 freestyle.
“I trained hard this summer and went to Junior Nationals and I kept on my taper, kept on training until I went down (to Puerto Rico),” Rosario said. “Originally, it was just for fun, but then I had a couple of coaches coming up to me and saying that I’m fast enough to represent Puerto Rico in international meets like the Pan American meet. I thought that was pretty cool.”
Now, Rosario plans to return to Puerto Rico in April to compete in another international meet.
He can’t wait...not just for the meet, but for everything else the trip will entail.
On his most recent visit, he went surfing, and ate all of his favorite foods, including rice with pigeon peas.
“It’s yellow rice, with little black peas,” Rosario explained. “It’s so delicious.”
Rosario will also visit with his grandparents and other extended relatives who still live there. He stayed with his grandparents during his most recent trip.
“I’m excited to go back again in the spring and see how I do,” Rosario said.
By then, Rosario with have another season of Stevenson swimming under his belt.
He had a blast last season helping the Patriots to the state championship and is even more motivated this year. He missed the finals of the 100 butterfly at the state meet by a hair.
“It was .05 (seconds),” Rosario said with a sigh. “I was out-touched. I was really disappointed. But I’ve got a goal now.”
Technically, he’s got a few of those. Posting even better results in Puerto Rico the second time around is up there. And now that he got a taste of swimming competitively in Puerto Rico, he would love to swim for his native country on a permanent basis.
“It’s always good to represent somewhere you love,” Rosario said. “Puerto Rico is a big part of my identity and it would be really nice to represent them.”