Héctor Jiménez

Hometown and Current residence:  I’m originally from Mexico City but I lived in other states in Mexico (took a job out of town 2 years after finishing college).  Then I moved to Boston, MA (suburbs) where I stayed until 2013, and finally moved to Bentonville in January of 2016.

Family and Occupation: I’m single but have a younger sister (2 years my junior), and my mom and dad are in their 60’s now. I’m a software engineer, contracting for Wal-Mart.

Swimming background:  I’ve been swimming recreationally since I was 6 years old. My primary school had a swimming pool and we had practice twice per week. Then I swam a bit more in high school and some in college when time allowed.  I had to travel 30 mins each way to a pool, since that high school/college didn’t have one.  Also they only offered swimming classes a few times during the day. But during this time I never joined a swim team (e.g. the Sharks of Bentonville), it was just classes and basic strokes (I learned some breaststroke, butterfly and turns in high school). The funny thing is that my front crawl kicking was always better than my pulling.

Favorite event/race:  The one hour swim events, since I feel that it’s very personal and you only compete against yourself.   But I like watching all distances at the Olympics!

Swimming heroes:  Michael Phelps. No, just kidding! I think my hero is my coach Erin, because she’s really accomplished as a swimmer and triathlete despite not being say a 6’0” Katie Ledecky. Swimming is not like boxing where there’s categories by weight, so swim events bunch people of any height/weight in competitions (and swimming records only making distinctions by age group sometimes).   So this means that not having the same arm and leg lengths as a swimmer like Ledecky or Phelps will signify a disadvantage in propulsion. So in part, this is why I don’t feel that I’m entirely cheating when using fins.

Swimming goals:   I’m trying to make 4 masters swim sessions per week, but I struggle with the 5:30am practices. I also wanted to make my goal of 250 miles this year (last year I got a 100 mile cap), but I’ve only managed about 150,000 yards so far.   I’m thinking I’d need to add extra 5:30am sessions from Tuesday to Thursday to increase my weekly mileage enough to make 250 miles this year!

Advice to new masters swimmers: The name masters was a bit intimidating for me since I thought it would be a group of  former college swimmers.  But it turned out that only describes the “advanced” level.  I  joined at the “beginner” level and continued to build up strength and skills, so after 3 months I joined the “intermediate” level.   Kudos to my coach Erin for posting on Facebook about the masters swim group and its different levels!

Hobbies:  I was in salsa and bachata classes and events in Fayetteville, but since they’re usually on Friday or Sunday nights, they conflict with my early training bike rides or swim workouts on Saturdays and Mondays. 

Favorite drills: Swimming with a clinched punch, which helps me realize that a lot of propulsion comes from the forearm. The 3,5,7 strokes per breath are also good to develop lung capacity and bi-lateral breathing. Also anything having to do with kicking and it’s even better if I can use fins!

Do you participate in other sports? Right now I’m doing triathlons so I do bike rides and other training with the TEMC (Team Endurance) and some speed training with Rush Running.

Where do you currently swim?  Melvin Ford’s long course outdoor pool and the Bentonville Community Center pool.  I love swimming long course because I feel that I can build quite a lot of endurance and strength in them, and the lanes aren’t as crowded as the 25 yard pools.


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