On this day in 1918, Honor Contributor, Sebastian Salinas-Abril was born
SEBASTIAN SALINAS ABRIL (PER) Honor Contributor
FOR THE RECORD: FINA: Vice President (1972-76), Bureau Member (1968-80), Chairman of Technical Swimming Committee (1981-88); ASUA: Secretary/Treasurer (1971-75), Executive Committee (1963-79), Honorary Life Member (since 1980); South American Swimming Confederation: President (1966-72), Vice President (1982-86), Honorary Life President (since 1987); Peruvian Swimming Federation: President (1959-60, 1963-64), Honorary Life President (since 1979); “Orden de los Caballeros de la Natacion Sudamericana”: President (1987-present), Member (1968-present); Awarded IOC’s “Silver Collar of the Olympic Order” (1996).
Sebastian Salinas Abril gave many long years of meaningful service as an amateur to swimming. Over these years he has made great advancements for the aquatic disciplines throughout South and Central America and the world. He was a hard working and dedicated man whose only ambition was to further swimming.
Born in Lima, Peru, in 1918, Salinas’ involvement in swimming goes back to 1941 when he became a delegate of Lima’s Swimming Association and his swimming club “Club Universitario de Natacion”. Within 11 years, he was chairman. Within that year, he began a 50 year term as a swimming official in regional and international swimming competitions.
Salinas received his formal education as an agricultural engineer attending Louisiana State University (1937-1939) and graduating from the University of Arizona (1945). But his interests laid in swimming and for the next 55 years, he served in varied capacities in Lima and Peru Swimming Federation’s, South American Swimming Confederation (CONSANAT), The Amateur Swimming Union of the Americas (ASUA) and Federation Internationale de Natacion Amateur (FINA).
On the national level, he has been a two-term President, Honorary Secretary, and Life Honorary President of the Peruvian Swimming Federation (1949-1999). He has served in leadership positions of the Peruvian Sports Institute, National Olympic Committee, Panathlon Club Lima and National Sports Patronage. In 1987, he was elected Honorary Life President of CONSANAT having served on this body since 1966.
His tenure with ASUA began in 1951 as Chairman of the Records Committee. He has served as Secretary, Treasurer, and since 1975, Executive Committee Member.
On the world level, he served for 20 years with FINA as Bureau Director (1968-1980), Vice President (1972-1976) and Technical Swimming Committee Chairman (1980-1988). As a meet official, he has been either chief timekeeper or starter at 3 South American Swimming Championships (1952, 1954, 1956) 3 Pan American Games (1951, 1963, 1967) and the 1972 Olympic Games and 1973 World Championships. Because of his knowledge of the rules, he served as meet referee at 4 Olympic Games (1976-1988), 4 World Championships (1975-1986), 3 Pan American Games (1971-1979), 5 South American Seniors Swimming Championships (1968-1990), as well as numerous South American Junior Swimming Championships.
From 1985 to 1991, Sebastian presented over 10 lectures (mostly for FINA) throughout the Americas and Spain for swimming officials. Since 1947, he has served as a delegate at over 91 International Congress Meetings. He was the catalyst in preparing FINA’s first complete handbook containing a chronological listing of world records, published in 1976.
His distinctions received include the Order of Merit for Distinguished Services presented in the Commander Grade by the Government of Peru (1965), Silver Plate from ASUA for achievement orated to the Latin American Trophy Cabeza de Palenque (1976), The Laurels of Sports – Great Cross Peru’s highest sports condecoration presented by the Peruvian National Sports Council, and the Silver Collar of the Olympic Order presented by the International Olympic Committee.
Salinas is a man of great stature who never lost sight that athletics are for the athletes. Like at the 1975 World Championships in Ecuador, his efforts have gone a long way to benefit swimming both short term and long term. The 1987 FINA records cite him for “special recognition”.
His honest and disciplined approach to sport has rendered more than 55 years of a positive, intensive and fruitful campaign in the international field of aquatics and sport.
Abril passed away in 1999.