The Master Stroke – “Nobody trains to come second”

Interview Series - #1

-Malvigha V (PGP 2016-18)

When this 4-year-old was accompanied to the swimming pool for the first time, little did he realize that he’d spend a significant part of his childhood there. Anadi Rakesh Mishra, PGP1, a National Swimmer, shares his story with us.

His father, a Merchant Navy Officer, knew swimming would keep his son active and fit. This was why he willingly took him to the pool every day at 5 in the morning despite it being 12 km away. Anadi was too young then to realize how swimming was moulding him. Undaunted by success or failure, he participated in competitions because his parents told him to do so. He says “I didn’t see the point in winning as a 5-year-old. It was all hyped”. Swimming was not his passion, at least not back then. It had become a mere formality to participate in tournaments and come back empty-handed.

Once his peers began winning medals, he realized that he wasn’t there merely to participate, but to win. This competitive spirit led him to his first 200m Butterfly-Bronze, at the Mumbai District Championship after a 7-year long wait. His persistence made his mother call him “Lambi race ka Ghoda.” He went on to prove his prowess at several competitions after that. His tally in the Nationals over three consecutive years include 4 Golds, 2 Silvers, and 5 Bronze medals, with his specialty being the 200m & 100m Butterfly Stroke, 200m Breast Stroke, and 400m Individual Medley. “Improving your timing by each millisecond is bigger than you would ever imagine,” he says.

Interestingly, he also participated in the Navy 5km Sea Swimming Competition, from Prong Reef to the Navy Base-Mumbai and won the competition hands down. “Nobody trains to come second” was what he says pushed him to break and create new records. He also struck the right balance, excelling at academics and sports, thus emerging a perfect all-rounder. It was unfortunate that he had to pull out of swimming in 2010, owing to a back injury.

In addition to swimming, he also has participated in several half marathons. For obvious reasons, he prefers water polo to any other sport. When quizzed on what his biggest learning from swimming was, he was quick to answer, “Discipline and perseverance were my major takeaways. Sometimes 50m would not be enough to lead the pack; you would need 200m. So are times when one year wouldn’t be sufficient, and you’d have to wait seven long years for your first medal”.

His BITS-Goa days were devoid of his regular dips, owing to his back injury. And when he took the plunge here in our campus’ new pool, he found the experience liberating and urged all of us to give it a shot. He also advises that the aquaphobic must not miss out on this opportunity as the pool here is only 4-feet deep. Experiencing the stress-buster that swimming is, Anadi is confident that people will pursue it once they get a taste of it.



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