Into the deep: SMC swim champ Gabriel Miranda on his life and plans

Standing behind the starting block, headphones on, focused, adrenaline coursing through his body, the smell of chlorine intensifies, and water reflects from his goggles as Santa Monica College freshman mid-distance swimmer Gabriel Miranda prepares to dive in. "I want to fly/Can you take me far away," the chorus of Macklemore's "Wings" reverberates through his ears, blocking the outside ambiance, keeping him focused.

The tone of the song "helps me to do my best," Miranda said.

He stands above the pool of East Los Angeles College before the men's 500 meter freestyle at the California Community College State Championship. It is the first of two state championships he will win this weekend.

São Paulo, Brazil- 6,600 miles away from the vibrant city of Santa Monica- is where Miranda's footsteps began.

Learning how to swim at the age of three, Miranda picked up the mechanics of the sport early on. He began swimming competitively for Centro Olímpico de Treinamento e Pesquisa at the age of seven.

He spent the next three years in Brazil swimming for Corinthians Paulista, a "huge and strong team," according to Miranda.

Departing Brazil with hopes and aspirations to become a bigger and better person, Miranda left São Paulo with only a portrait of family and friends, letters, and necklaces given to him by his role model, his mother.

His search led him to the sunny shores of Southern California where Miranda decided to come to SMC for three reasons: location, reputation, and weather.

Miranda continued to improve throughout the season, pushing himself more and more not just to cut down his swim time, but to prove he is the best of the entire state.

“He is the hardest worker in the pool, whatever you want him to do, whatever he needs to do and just go do it and then he is not going to lose.” said SMC swim coach Brian Eskridge.

Miranda is pleased with the support he is receiving from coaches and teammates. The strong relationship he has acquired with both of his coaches the last few months have played a big part in his achievements.

"I strive for success in both academic and athletic aspects of life at the moment because I want to be the best. Standing out from the rest is important to me," Miranda said.

Outside of the pool Miranda is a dedicated student. He plans to pursue a major in Business. He plans to develop a strategy where in the near future he can manage his own business.

As of now Miranda plans to continue swimming while setting bigger goals. One of his hopes and aspirations is to get recruited by a university with a Division I program where he can expand his career.

"I will one day swim for Arizona State University, Florida Atlantic University, or Hawaii," said Miranda.

"I was trying to fly without leaving the ground," Macklemore's words run through Miranda's mind.

Back on the diving edge of the pool, the racers are ready for the moment. Miranda is thinking about "not losing because I want my coaches to be proud of me."

The buzzer goes off and the race is on, thoughts must now be actions.

Starting strong in the 500 yard freestyle event Miranda kept the lead until the end finishing with a time of 4:30.79. Miranda began his 200 yard freestyle event trailing his contender from American River Brandon Sayers, it wasn't until the last 50 yards when Miranda broke through the water finishing in 1:38.65.

"Give me a star to reach for/tell me what it takes and I'll go so high."