Teen terror in the pool

At 13, Kanchi will be youngest Indian representative

Teen terror in the pool

The Maharashtrian, who will be competing along with the likes of England’s Rebecca Addington and Australia’s Leisel Jones at the October 3-14 Games, is excited at the prospect of locking horns with the World and Olympic champions. “I am really excited. I feel I am still in a dream,” said an elated Kanchi.

It is difficult to see Kanchi coming out of the pool with a medal, but the teenaged swimmer is very excited to be a part of the quadrennial event.

“I know with the competition it’s almost impossible to win a medal. But it will be a rich experience for me,” reasoned Kanchi, who will be competing in the 400M individual medley event at the SP Mukherjee swimming pool.

Kanchi has been creating waves in the national circuit for the past few years and last year, she graduated to the Junior level competitions.

She still holds the record in the Sub-junior girls’ Group III 200M freestyle and 200M individual medleys.

In the Junior Nationals this year in Bangalore, Kanchi win five gold medals to pocket the best swimmer award in the Group II category.

She also broke four meet records -- in the 200 and 400 freestyle, and the 200 and 400 IM events.

However, Kanchi’s best effort came in the Senior Nationals in Jaipur this year, when she took home the 400 IM and 800 freestyle bronze medals.

Kanchi started swimming at the tender age of two when her father Anand Desai, a psychologist, enrolled her in the Juhu Vile Parle and Gymkhana pool in Mumbai.

“I continued swimming and fortunately it worked for me. But I took the sport seriously only when I won my first medal at the Sub-junior Nationals in Kolkata,” Kanchi said.

Kanchi, who learned the nuances of the sport from coach Anand at the JPG pool, is now coached by Tapan Kumar Panigrahi at the same pool where she began her swimming journey. “My biggest ambition is to win a medal for the country at the Olympics,” Kanchi reiterated.

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