SHAWNEE – Oklahoma Baptist swimming & diving will be well represented at the FINA World Championships, with five current and former athletes competing for their respective countries when the biennial event begins today in Hungary.
Celina Marquez, a freshman from El Salvador, is scheduled to appear in five events for her home country. Marquez will swim the 50 and 100-meter backstroke, the 50 and 100-meter butterfly, and the 200-meter backstroke. She earned All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honors in four events this year.
"Six years ago, we started the OBU swim program. To think we have people competing in the World Championships now is a real testament to OBU's commitment to athletics. It's just wonderful to see their growth," said Bison Head Coach Dr. Samuel Freas.
Four OBU alumni will also compete against the world's best swimmers. Daniel Ramirez is representing Mexico in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle and butterfly events. AJ Barbar is entered in the 50-meter butterfly and freestyle, swimming for Lebanon. Greg Penny will compete for the Virgin Islands in the 50 and 100-meter breaststroke. Ines Remersaro swims for Uruguay in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle.
"Many of these athletes made great strides, from good swimmers to NAIA All-Americans and now to world class swimmers, all while at OBU," said Freas. "Oklahoma Baptist is able to strike a balance between God, sport, and academics while providing a positive environment for [student-athletes] to grow."
More than 2500 athletes from 180 participating countries will compete from July 14-30 at the dual host cities of Budapest and Balatonfüred, Hungary. In addition to swimming, other events at the World Championships include diving, high diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo. All swimming events will take place at Danube Arena in Budapest beginning on July 23.