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Local swimmer headed for World Championships

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Former Brighton High swimmer Long Gutierrez will compete for Mexico at the World Championships in Barcelona later this month.
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Long Gutierrez is already a local swimming legend. This past winter, he led Brighton High to its fifth straight state championship, and owns over 40 state records.

"He's going to end up being the best that's come out of this state," said Brighton swim coach Todd Etherington.

But the competition pool is about to get a little deeper. Next week, Gutierrez will test his skills against the best swimmers on the planet at the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

"All the Olympians will most likely be there," Gutierrez said. "Ryan Lochte will be there, Matt Grevers, and a bunch of other Olympians, which will be pretty cool."

But Gutierrez will not be representing the United States in Barcelona. He'll be swimming for Mexico. Gutierrez, whose father is Mexican and mother is Chinese, was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. age the age of two, so he owns dual citizenship.

"It's really exciting to be able to be able and compete for Mexico against all these other countries," Gutierrez said. "It's going to be really amazing just being around different cultures there."

"Fast swimming breeds fast swimming," Etherington said. "So, for him to go see what these world championship caliber swimmers do on a daily basis is only going to make him better."

Gutierrez' ultimate goal is to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. If he swims faster than the standard Olympic qualifying time, Gutierrez, who will swim for national power Cal this fall, is a virtual lock to make the Mexican Olympic team.

"The track he's following right now, I'd be very surprised if he's not in Rio de Janeiro in 2016," Etherington said. "It should be in the high 90 percentile range that he's going to qualify."

What would that do for the Utah swimming community?

"Oh, it would be amazing," said Etherington. "To have somebody that these swimmers have grown up watching at our club meets and local level would show these kids that it is something that's possible."

But if he does make the Mexican Olympic team, Gutierrez will always be competing for Utah.

"Knowing that the entire Utah community is backing me up, makes me feel great," Gutierrez said. "I hope I can inspire others to keep on swimming, and show them that you can do whatever you want."
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