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Tuesday 21 January 2020
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‘I believe in Jesus and Daddy’

Goodwill swim champ's strong faith

Christiano Rivas came home with a nine medal haul – six of them gold – from the Goodwill Swim Meet in Suriname last month.
Christiano Rivas came home with a nine medal haul – six of them gold – from the Goodwill Swim Meet in Suriname last month.


Christiano Rivas is making a name for himself in the swimming world. The 11-year-old standard five student was selected to be on the national team in the annual Goodwill Swim Meet held in Suriname, earlier last month.

Christiano returned home with an impressive total of nine medals in the boys nine to ten category – six gold medals in the 100 metre butterfly, 100 metre freestyle, 200 metre freestyle relay, 50 metre butterfly, 400 metre freestyle relay and 400 metre medley relay; two silver medals in the 50 metre breaststroke and 200 metre freestyle; and one bronze individual medal. He also broke the national record in that category in the 100 metre butterfly. (The rules allow him to compete in this category as he was ten at the start of the competition year, last December. He turned 11 on June 4.)

Christiano Rivas does his early-morning laps at Centre of Excellence, Macoya. PHOTOS BY RHIANNA McKENZIE

This was not the first time that he has seen success at the Goodwill competition, having been selected to participate for the national team in 2017 in Guyana. There, he had broken the national record for the 100 metre butterfly in the eight and under category. His achievements do not come without sacrifice.

"It takes a lot of training and a belief in Jesus. I can't do anything without my faith in my coach and Jesus," told Newsday Kids. His coach is his father Mark Rivas, who was also the coach of the national team.

His father is proud of his achievements and said he is most impressed with how calm and confident his son is during competition.

Christiano Rivas, left, and his brother, Giovanni.

A typical day for Christiano starts with a healthy breakfast and morning laps around the pool from 5-7 am before school. After school it’s lessons from 3-4 pm and a little exercise before dinner. He said the payoff was well worth it. He trains with the RWB Swim Club at Centre of Excellence, Macoya.

Christiano may be a star in the pool, but that does not take away from his achievements at his school – Cunupia Government Primary. "I'm known as the smart person in class," he said with a smile. His grades are high and he plans to maintain them. He wants to pass for his first choice, Hillview College, when he does the Secondary Entrance Assessment exam next year.

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