Josué Domínguez and Alejandra Aybar are two young Dominican swimmers who qualified for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games respectively, beginning on July 23, 2021. Both athletes are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Josué Domínguez, 24, is pursuing a degree in Biochemistry from Brigham Young University (BYU) in the United States, while dedicating about 20 hours a week to swimming and working in a research group at the same university.
He relates that from a very young age, he began his career as an athlete. At first, he was afraid of swimming, but over time he began to develop a passion for the sport, and teamwork helped him overcome his limitations to become what he is today.
He emphasizes that his success is largely due to a phrase his mother repeated to him as a child, attributed to Gordon B. Hinckley, who was then President of the Church: 'We must strive for excellence in everything we do.'
He also claims that the passage in Joshua 1:9 has kept him focused on his goals and performance as a swimmer: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
Josué served as a Church missionary in the Mexico Puebla South Mission. “Missionary work helped me understand how God speaks to me and to seek His guidance,” says Domínguez, who has won several medals. He won the first in the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Championship (CCCAN 2011). Later, in 2019, he won the gold medal in 100 and 200 meters breaststroke.
Similarly, in March 2021, he made history in the pages of the Dominican Republic when he became the first Dominican swimmer to compete in the Division I NCAA College Swimming Championships, representing Brigham Young University in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. In May 2021 he set a national record in the 100 meter breaststroke.
As for Alejandra Aybar, she is a young Paralympic athlete with a firm faith in God, a promoter of good principles and values, who expresses gratitude for her goals.
“These games are a dream come true. Everyday for the last three years, that has been my purpose, to get up and give my best in the water, knowing that blessings are given through sacrifices”, Aybar expresses.
Alejandra suffers from a genetic disease called imperfect osteogenesis (commonly known as “Crystal bones”), which causes weakness in the bones, but that does not stop her in her professional and spiritual development.
“My greatest difficulty is the nature of my body, to strengthen it and teach it to use what it has in the most effective way, to discipline it in other words,” says Aybar. “To give my best and not give up even with pain and, above all, to be open to corrections to continue progressing. I understand and know that difficulties are part of the process, and that they are there for us to unleash our maximum potential.”
“The most difficult race has been the 100-meter breaststroke,” comments Aybar, who is passionate about competitions. She says that despite her motor difficulties being on land, she feels free in the water.
Alejandra has always had the support of her coach Gálvez Capriles, the support of a sports psychologist, but she never neglects spiritual guidance. 'Before jumping into the pool, I ask God to bless my training and obviously, I take care of doing my part,' she highlights.
In the professional field, she has a degree in Industrial Engineering, with work experience in the medical device sector. She won the first medal for the Dominican Republic as a Paralympic swimmer at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru 2019, in the 100-meter breaststroke .
Alejandra is also a well-known motivational speaker and an activist for inclusion who has been featured in different national and international campaigns to promote a more inclusive society.