Sofia Gomez, Free Diver and Dominica Resident Who Dreams of Representing Colombia at Olympics

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A report from the Latin American Herald Tribune.

After breaking a world free diving record in the constant-weight biathlete category last July, Sofia Gomez Uribe’s dream is to represent her native Colombia at the Olympics, although that wish is being stymied because her sport still has not been included in the international competition.

“I’d love it if it were an Olympic sport. I think that the pressure I’d feel would be intense but would be really nice. That’s the dream that all free divers have,” said Gomez in an interview with EFE.

She can indulge herself in this dream thanks to the World Confederation of Underwater Activities (CMAS), which is currently leading a campaign to promote making free diving a part of the Olympic program for the 2024 Paris Games.

The Colombian athlete last year broke the world record by descending to a depth of 84 meters (276 feet) and said that another one of her aims is to continue pursuing her sport as much as possible, above and beyond setting records, because it’s something that gives her personal satisfaction.

“I don’t do it for the records, but obviously it’s much better if records are set. … I do it for the personal satisfaction of extending my limits … and showing myself that I can achieve what I set out to do,” she said, laughing.

Gomez was born 26 years ago in the central Colombian city of Pereira, far from the sea, but settled on the Caribbean island of Dominica, where she prepares for all the competitions in which she takes part during the year.

In 2018, her main objective is to participate in the world free diving championship, to be held from Oct. 1-30 in the Turkish city of Kaz.

“We keep doing physical preparation, working on very basic training in the gym and starting from this point onwards with more intense training,” she said.

“You have to return to the sea, to re-accustom the body to the pressure, to all the biological changes that the pressure causes. You have to do it a little at a time … I don’t just go and put myself down at 80 meters. I have to do it a bit at a time and it’s a long process, requiring a lot of patience, so that I don’t hurt myself,” she said.

Apart from pursuing her sport, because of the damage caused to Dominica by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Gomez led a collective microfinancing campaign to help the island’s severely damaged agricultural community recover.

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