Blas Garcia Canga, Centennial High School
















When did you start swimming? How did you get started? What teams or clubs have you
swum with?

I started swimming competitively at Windsor Swim Club at around age seven. A former Champaign-area swimmer named David Danenhower taught me how to swim the four strokes and later became the person who told my parents I should consider swimming year round. I started swimming “seriously” at around age eleven and dedicated a lot of time to both training with various club coaches and to technique with Bruce Miller in Homer, Illinois. I have swam for the Windsor Frogs, Champaign Aquachiefs, Champaign Heat, Centennial Chargers, and the Cornell Big Red.

What are your college plans? Will you swim? What will you major in?

I have just finished my first semester at Cornell University at the time I am writing this. I swam throughout my first semester and it was an extremely rewarding experience. Swimming division one while balancing my classes was challenging, but I ended up surprising myself with how I did in both. I have recently decided to switch over to the varsity Rowing team for the remainder of my time here at Cornell. The decision was based largely on the way I was falling into the lineup for meets on the swim team and the fact that the practice times for the rowing team coincide better with my goals outside of the pool. I will not stop swimming entirely after making the switch to rowing, however, due to the nature of the sport allowing for cross training. I am currently in a pre-medical track, but I have not declared a major.

What have you learned from swimming?

Swimming has taught me how to manage my time and how to push myself even when I feel I have reached my limits. I would not trade the places I have gone and the people I have met through this sport for anything.

What is your favorite swimming memory?

My two favorite memories from swimming are the first time I won the Junior Olympics as an Age Grouper, and as a senior in high school when my best friend Gabe Omo-Osagie and I both qualified for enough individual and relay events to allow us to take along our entire ten-person senior class to the IHSA State swim meet as alternates.

What is your favorite event? Least favorite?

My favorite event is the 200 freestyle and my least favorite is the 200 backstroke.

What is your favorite movie? Favorite food? Favorite place?

Movie: Saving Private Ryan, Gladiator, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Food: Sushi, Hamburgers

Place: The Cities of Chicago, Boston, and Buenos Aires. I also love the beach.

What 3 people would you invite to dinner?

Aristotle, Gonzalo Higuain, my Family.

Tell us something about yourself that people might find surprising or interesting.

I have a great appreciation for the arts, especially for dance and theater. I also enjoy motivating and helping others whenever I can.