BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Sebastián Galleguillo, 18, an Argentine paralympic swimmer, has found an unusual way to train during an almost four-month lockdown in and around capital Buenos Aires due to the coronavirus pandemic that saw his local pool close its doors.
With the help of his bricklayer dad, Galleguillo has made a makeshift “pool” in his back yard located in a poor neighborhood of the city, using plastic sheets, logs, an old tank and two metal drums, and filling it with 400 liters of water.
“We made do with what we had here and we started building,” his father Edmundo Hernandez, 47, told Reuters.
“The first day was nailing logs on the floor, the second was putting sheets and plastics so that the water does not drain. Later, we bought a 15-meter-long by 4-meter wide plastic that forms a bag and that is what holds the water.”
Galleguillo, who is part of the Argentine team of deaf swimmers and training to participate in the 2021 Deaflympics in Brazil, said his time out of the water had been tough.
“I said to my mom: I want to train again because I am becoming rigid, I am losing mobility in my body… It’s not the same to train outside as being in the water.”
Argentina’s government imposed a mandatory lockdown on March 20, which has been extended around Buenos Aires until at least July 17 due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases that now number over 100,000, with nearly 2,000 fatalities.
Despite the Southern Hemisphere winter, Galleguillo trains daily in his DIY pool, with heat from wood burned in a metal drum.
“With swimming I am one, I am completely me: in there, I do not depend on my hearing, I am in the water and I only need my body to train,” he said.
(Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco; Writing by Marina Lammertyn; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Bernadette Baum)