Oscar Arzamendia is a Senior Data Engineer who joined X-Team in January 2022. He is also a swimmer who regularly competes and came third at the Croatian World Games in 2023, his first international competition.

In this interview, we discuss what motivates him to swim, how he combines it with his full-time job as a Senior Data Engineer, and what advice he has for young software engineers who also have a passion for sports.

Oscar holding onto a lane divider

How did you first get involved in swimming?

I took my first swimming lesson at a summer camp when I was around six or seven years old. I competed for the first time when I was around ten. Then, for some reason, I completely stopped swimming. Life got in the way and I had less time for it.

But I always had the swimming bug, and for a big part of my youth I swam casually and seasonally, when it was summer. In 2022 I began to swim regularly again, throughout the whole year.

What motivates you to compete at such a high level, like at the Croatian World Games?

Please allow me to clarify first: While the Croatian World Games is a big event, it's not a professional competition. You'll have professionals competing, but the main goal is to bring the Croatian diaspora together to reconnect and have fun. It's open to everyone with Croatian ancestry, which includes me.

But to answer your question, my main motivation is to have fun while staying healthy. Swimming allows for both.

Was the Croatian World Games your biggest race? Bring us back to that day. How did you feel? How did it go?

Yes, that was my biggest race so far. It was also the first time I represented my home country Paraguay at an international event. I was nervous, excited, but overall very happy and grateful.

I had trained hard for that competition. I remember that my biggest fear was that I'd get disqualified because of some silly mistake like jumping before the shot or because I made a wrong turn 😅. Overall, third place at my first international competition was a great outcome. I was pretty satisfied.

How do you mentally prepare yourself for a race like that?

On competition day, I usually try to relax and stay focused. If I'm too anxious while still at home, I usually numb myself with random YouTube or TikTok videos. If I'm already at the event, I just talk to friends and other swimmers.

What does your typical training regimen look like?

I usually hit the pool three times a week. I train in the mornings for one hour or an hour and a half. Depending on the specific training my coach has come up with, that means I swim between two and a half and three kilometers a session.

How do you balance the demands of your software engineering career with competitive swimming?

Balancing the two has never been an issue. I'm very practical about it. I love swimming, but I'm not a professional swimmer, so my job always takes priority. Clashes with competitions don't happen very often, because most of the competitions here in Paraguay take place over the weekend.

Also, as an X-Teamer, I have some flexibility with my work schedule. And my coach is pretty flexible with his schedule too. I appreciate that a lot.

Oscar in the pool
photo taken by G.I. Tepes

How has the discipline required for competitive swimming influenced your approach to software development projects?

Setting goals and working towards them is a trait that you need for both activities.

What advice would you give to young software engineers who also have a passion for sports or another demanding extracurricular activity?

Don't wait until you have time to do it all perfectly. Start small. Learn to be happy with what you can achieve in the moment. There will be times where you'll only be able to train once a week. That's fine. Next week, perhaps you'll catch up. Doing something is infinitely better than doing nothing.

Do you want to join a company full of sporty and motivated people like Oscar? You can! X-Team is always looking for experienced engineers. Create your candidate profile today.