Splash and Dash
With the heat getting to everyone in Mumbai, we at JAM have come up with a solution healthier than guzzling soft drinks swimming! Interest in swimming as a sporting event has been on the rise in India. Keeping this in mind, we at JAM decided to interview 15 year old Surabhi Tipre, a young and upcoming swimming champion.
JAM: What got you into swimming? At what age did you decide to take it up seriously?
Surabhi: It was my mother who decided that I should learn swimming at age six. She never really got a chance to learn swimming as a child, nor did she have any inclination to learn swimming later on since she has a fear of water. Thus, she insisted that I learn swimming. As I got better, I performed well in a number of local competitions. However, I only decided to take up swimming seriously at age ten, after my first national level competition.
JAM: How crucial a role did your parents and school play? Have you encountered other swimmers whose parents or school were not as supportive?
Surabhi: My parents have always been extremely supportive, and have been my primary source of motivation. After reaching a certain level, my school has also been extremely supportive of my swimming, and the teachers have made special arrangements for me when it comes to attendance and tests. My coach has also played a pivotal role in my success. Personally, I have never encountered any swimmers whose parents have not been supportive of them, but I have heard a lot about them.
JAM: How do you manage to balance your studies and swimming? Especially for this year, since you’re taking your board exams.
Surabhi: I’ve managed to balance my studies and swimming for the past five years, and I’m now used to it. While it’s true that this is a big year, I think I should be able to balance the two. In the past, my school has been a big help, since it allows me to write my final exams at the location of the competition itself, it sends a sealed exam paper along with the teacher accompanying me.
JAM: Staying fit in the off-season must be extremely important. Do you follow any particular exercise routine or follow a certain diet?
Surabhi: Staying fit is extremely important, but we’ve hardly got any off season time for the past two years, and so we need to be fit all the time. A balanced diet is essential, along with a high intensity workout in the gym.
JAM: Which is the one record which you’re most proud of? Also, other than swimming, what do you like doing in your spare time?
Surabhi: The one record I’m most proud of would be the national 800 metre record in the freestyle category. My hobbies include reading (I love Chetan Bhagat’s books), listening to music on my iPod, and of course sleeping.
JAM: You’ve already broken a number of national records. What keeps you motivated and what are your long-term goals?
Surabhi: While it’s true that I’ve broken a number of national records, my hunger to achieve more success and reach the Olympics by 2012 keeps me going. My future plans are to participate in the forthcoming Youth Commonwealth Games and the World Youth Games in Mexico.
– CHINMAY BHOGLE