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Swimming siblings set for Island Games

Swimming runs in the blood for siblings Jordan Gonzalez and Ashlyn Gonzalez, who are part of Team Gibraltar’s squad at this year’s Island Games.

This will be the fifth time Mr Gonzalez, 23, will be taking part in the Island Games, but it is the first for 17-year old Ashlyn.

The Westside School pupil said: “I used to be in Rhythmic Gymnastics but after an injury I could not continue.”

“I was always inspired by my brother taking part in swimming and his achievements so I took up swimming as well.”

The pair has been working hard to shave off those crucial seconds to get across the finishing line first in their competition.

Ashlyn will be taking part in the 50-metre breaststroke, the 100-metre breaststroke and the relay medley, meanwhile her brother will take part in the 50-metre backstroke, the 100-metre backstroke and two relay medleys.

“The training was harsh,” Ashlyn said. “But now I am getting used to it and it is much better.”

Mr Gonzalez said he is “proud” of his younger sister, and is there to motivate her and give her words of advice if needed.

And after several months of preparations, he is looking forward to getting into the swimming pool and competing in the race.

Speaking to the Chronicle, Mr Gonzalez said: “Every Island Games is unique in its own way depending on where you go to.”

“But the best thing about the Island Games is that the competition itself is super fun.”

“It is very competitive but at the same time lots of people are having a good time, everyone is so friendly and we all know each other across the different islands and we get along with each other.”

Training, however, has been at the forefront of Ashlyn and Mr Gonzalez’ minds over the past few months and they have been there to encourage each other to keep on track while their mum, Vanessa, focuses on their meals.

“A lot of people do not understand the sacrifice that all athletes have to make,” Mr Gonzalez said.

“It is not just in swimming but in all sports, and I guess if you have not lived it so you do not know what it is like.”

Friends, social life and time on the beach have had to be left on the back burner in preparation for the Island Games, but their fellow swimmers and swimming coach, Joe Santos.

The pair said the new pool in Lathbury Barracks is a great size and it is really good and have already taken a dip.

With home town advantage, their friends and families have said they will come and support them.