July 26, 2012
FORT WORTH - Saying Edgar Crespo's career at TCU has come full-circle would be an accurate statement. Crespo joined the Horned Frogs men's swimming team in Aug. 2008, coming off an appearance at Olympic Games in Beijing, China representing his home country of Panama. Four years later, Crespo has completed an accomplished career for TCU and is in London preparing to represent his home country again.
Crespo, a native of Panama City, Panama will again don the cap of his home country at the Olympic Games. He will compete in the 100-meter breaststroke on Saturday, with the chance to advance into Sunday's final rounds.
"It is an honor for me to represent my country and TCU at the Olympics," Crespo said. "It is big for me, I have been training hard for many months, I am going to go there and have fun."
Crespo will become the third Panamanian swimmer to compete in multiple Olympic Games. In 2008, Crespo competed in the 100-meter breaststroke, finishing in 53rd-place. He has also represented Panama at the World Championships, both short-course and long-course, the Pan American Games and the South American Games.
"When I went to Beijing I was only 18-years old," Crespo noted. "Now I am applying what I have learned there and the last four years. I feel good physically and mentally, and with the help of the TCU coaches and from back home I feel good about where I am."
Though Panama will have a small presence at the games, with seven athletes earning the right to compete, Crespo will still be well-supported. His mother, Julia Echeverría de Crespo, was chosen by Procter & Gamble as part of its "Thanks Mom" campaign to join her son at the Games in London.
"My family is going to see me over there," Crespo said. "My mom is going to be there, that is very exciting."
Crespo will also be joined by Horned Frogs assistant coach Bill Koppelman, who was chosen as coach of the Panama squad.
The journey has not been all smooth sailing though. Crespo had to wait until July 5 to get his official invitation to the Olympic Games through FINA, the world governing body for swimming. Crespo had to wait in spite of having made the qualifying time quite a bit earlier. FINA invited Crespo to compete in both the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke, but he has chosen to go after the shorter event.
"I am only swimming in the 100, though I was chosen for the 100 and 200," Crespo stated.
Crespo has spent the past few weeks training in the higher altitudes of Salt Lake City, Utah before returning to Fort Worth.
"I am focusing on my turns, which have to be fast and precise. The starts should be really good. We have been doing plenty of drills for positioning of my hands and body that will help me go faster."
While Crespo will get the honor of competing in the Olympic Games, he will miss out on the Opening Ceremonies, which take place the night before his event. Crespo, like many other athletes will, decided to pass up on the potential pitfalls such as the late-running nature of the ceremonies, the standing and walking during the parade of nations and potential lack of sleep so he can aim high for his opening swim the next day.
He knows what he wants to do in that swim.
"My goal is to advance to the semifinals," Crespo noted. "After that, anything can happen."
Crespo finished his career at TCU as a seven-time All-Mountain West Conference honoree. He competed at the NCAA Championships in 2010 and 2011. At the Conference-USA Invitational back in February, Crespo broke four school records. He finished his TCU career as No. 1 in school history in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke and as a member of TCU's all-time top 200 and 400-yard medley relay teams.