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Yanuel was born and raised on the coastal beaches of the Dominican Republic, where he grew up watching visiting surfers in the waves. Inspired, he surfed for the first time when he was eight-years-old and was hooked. Yanuel began to swim competitively in the RD a few years later when he was ten, having to pay his own way to join the team. At sixteen, his aquatic education continued to expand when he joined the Dominican Navy Boys Scout, learning scuba diving and open water survival. The next year Yanuel moved with his family to Astoria, Queens, where he attended Long Island City High School and immediately joined the swim team. There, he broke numerous school records in breaststroke and butterfly. He went on to attend Morrisville State College where he completed his bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice in 2016. Yanuel feels that his greatest gift has been always to help others in need. With this call to serve in mind, along with his degree in Criminal Justice, he plans to become a New York City police officer. In addition to swimming and helping those in need, Yanuel enjoys baseball, working on his car, and dancing.