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The Olympian Poseidon of Swimming Pools in Mexico

The Olympian Poseidon of Swimming Pools in Mexico

Posted by Alejandra Romo on August 26, 2013

Unlike others, Coach Nelson Vargas has been working since the age of seven never taking a break. He has been a physical education teacher and a swimming instructor for almost 50 years.

’I am and will always be passionate about sports. Coming from a working class family, I had to work at a very young age.  Doing sports was something that I always enjoyed and it is the reason why I chose to major in physical education. Sports is not just part of my life, it is my life’’, Vargas claims.

He developed the National Competition Program (Programa Competitivo de Natación) of the Mexican Social Security Institute, and led the team to become swimming champions in every category from 1966 to 1982.

His outstanding work lead him to become the national assistant swimming coach alongside the head swimming coach Ronald Johnson for the professional swimmers who participated in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Both were key in the league’s success in the history of Mexican swimming Sports, winning a gold medal with Felipe Muñoz ‘’El Tibio’’ and a bronze medal with Maria Teresa Ramirez (the only time Mexico has ever received medals in this discipline during Olympic Games).

Coach Nelson Vargas has had a three time nomination for the National Sports Award (Premio Nacional del Deporte) by the Mexican government.

In the 2000-2006 administration,  he was appointed as the General Director of the National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport (CONADE per its initials in Spanish), and one of the main legacies from his term is the foundation of the National Center for the Development of Talented and High Performing Athletes (CNAR per its initials in Spanish,) the most important sports center in the country.

The story of a great company begins.

Ever since the first time he participated in sports, Coach Nelson Vargas Basáñez wanted to create a concept around service and quality where Mexican families could learn and share new experiences with their children. Inspired by this, in 1978 the first Acuática Nelsonvaegas (ANV) Lindavista was inaugurated.

There are currently fourteen facilities located in eight different points of the country; five being aquatic facilities and the other nine being family fitness centers, providing 45 activities for the whole family.

’Right from the start, I wanted ANV to be a 100% family geared company and become the first school in Mexico with a specific method to teach professional swimming in installations with state-of-art technology and equipment in a safe and coexisting environment’,’ describes a 71 year old man who is known to be one of the most influential and important entrepreneurs in Mexico.

Since opening its first location, the Acuática Nelsonvargas teams have placed themselves in first place at a national level. The ANV swimmers are usually the ones to make up the national team for the Olympic Games, Pan-American Games and Central American Games.

What is next for Nelson Vargas?

’I am 71 years old now and I had a stroke just 2 months ago and they put in a new motor (that’s what he calls the pacemaker he had put in place during surgery). Of course I don’t plan on stopping. At Nelsonvargas Family Fitness we have three projects that are about to take flight, the construction of a new sports facility in Guadalajara (Jalisco), Sayavedra (State of Mexico) and Santa Fe (Mexico City).’’ concluded Coach Nelson Vargas right before diving into the pool to give a special class to children participating in the summer program at NVFF Puebla.


Photo by Christian Palma

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