by Andrés Lomeña Cantos
Paula Sen is a teenage swimmer with excessive ambition. She knows that her coach will not applaud her for finishing fourth, since her glory never exceeds the podium: gold, silver and bronze. She has a recurring dream: she swims smoothly through the air, she pushes herself off the walls of buildings and strokes through the ether. She obsessively looks at herself in the mirror of the great swimming champions, although she does not aspire to equal them, but to surpass them. She doesn’t know where her ambition comes from, but she wants to find out what she’s capable of. She aims to break a world record, master the four styles (butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and front crawl), and even invents one of her own: the Sen style. She longs for the gold medal to climb to the highest step of the podium, but she does not want to get off it until her history remembers her as the greatest legend she has ever created in a swimming pool. However, such a demanding sporting life, somewhere between megalomania and neurosis, entails personal and emotional costs that Paula will experience in the middle of the competition.
Andrés Lomeña (Málaga, 1982) has a degree in Journalism and Literary Theory. He is also a doctor in Sociology and a regular contributor to HuffPost. Podio is his first novel, inspired by the sentimental education of his time as a young swimming promise.