25-year 'silver' lining for BAC

25-year 'silver' lining for BAC

For a quarter of a decade now, the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre have been nurturing champion swimmers. As BAC, one of India’s premier swimming centre, gears up to celebrate its silver jubilee, the occasion is perfect to relieve its glorious past and dwell on its ambition of building up a bright future.

Twenty-five years have passed since BAC, formerly known as the Basavanagudi Aquatic Club when it started on December 7, 1986, initiated the process of nurturing hundreds of top-class swimmers.

BAC presently has around 500 competitive and 600 weekend swimmers, apart from 17 coaches, with national coach Pradeep Kumar as its head coach. With an eye on building a better tomorrow and giving swimmers a taste of modern facilities, BAC plans to renovate the centre with a 10-lane pool along with other new infrastructure.

“This pool was constructed 30 years ago and so it needed renovation. We also felt that Bangalore doesn’t have a pool of international standard which can host top-level meets,” pointed out Pradeep. 

“We are going to celebrate the silver jubilee in a grand fashion. We want to give something more to the people. We also want a healthy generation. Apart from the pool with anti-wave lanes, we plan to construct a gallery, media centre, rest rooms, gymnasium and conference hall. We are planning to start work later this year,” said Pradeep.

But to realise their dream project, BAC needs a hefty sum of Rs 6.5 crore and hopes to complete all work in nine months, beginning soon after the Senior Nationals in the City in October. “The total budget will be around Rs 6.5 crore of which the BBMP has promised Rs 3 crore. The remaining Rs 3.5 crore, we are hoping to raise from the Senior National championship, from well-wishers and from philanthropists. But raising such a huge amount will be a challenging task,” remarked Pradeep.

The 48-year-old Pradeep, who joined the club during the summer of 1988, also said BAC is keen to rope in a world-class swimmer during the Nationals to add glamour to the celebrations. “It could be Michael Phelps or any other world-class swimmer but it will be a big name in the sport who will grace our silver jubilee occasion.”

Among other programmes planned for the celebrations include honouring swimmers of yesteryear and conducting an awareness baton relay run which will start from the Sree Kanteerava stadium and finish at the BAC on January 26. “We are inviting high-profile sportspersons and dignitaries from other fields for the awareness run,” said Pradeep.

From a low-key beginning to becoming one of the main swimming institutions, the journey thus far has been successful, though its hasn’t always been smooth sailing. “We started the club with around 15-20 swimmers, and most of them were children of member. From there, the progress have been gradual. There was only a 50-metre pool when we started but in 1997, we constructed a 25-metre pool and built other facilities. We are very thankful to the BBMP for giving the pool on lease,” said BAC president NR Jagdale.

Over the years, BAC has become a centre of excellence for the sport with several top swimmers from several parts of the country coming here to train under the best coaches in top-class facilities. The club has been the training ground for Olympians Nisha Millet and Rehan Poncha. “BAC is like my second home and the coaches and team-mates are like my family. Whatever I achieved in swimming is because of this pool. I am really excited to know that the pool is going to be renovated,” said Poncha, who joined BAC in 2005.

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