Thrill of the race keeps swimmer Suvana going faster

Suvana C Basakr of Dolphin Aquatics won the gold in Group 1, girls 200m medley in the State sub Junior & Junior Aquatic Championship-2018, oganised by Mysore District Swimming Association at Mysuru University Swimming Pool. (Photo by Savitha)

Suvana C Baskar remembers her early years in the pool. She remembers her Group IV races and reveals that she ‘can’t believe that it’s been eight years already’.

But her 12 gold medals, 15 silver and 5 bronze across age group at the nationals show how far she has come.

“I like racing, that’s the best part about swimming,” she says before revealing how she got into the pool as a youngster in the first place.

“My mother and grandmother are all state-level swimmers, for Karnataka. My dad is scared of water. So my mother wanted me to learn swimming as a life skill and I learned and that’s when my parents also thought I could do something and they started competing.”

At 16, she is 10 years into competitive swimming. But it wasn’t until the Junior nationals in Pune last year that she started converting her potential into serious medal hauls.

While she has always been among the podium more often than not, in Pune she bagged four gold medals, a silver and a national record (Group I) in 50m butterfly with a time of 29.35.

She took a bronze in the 50m backstroke event at the recently-concluded Asian Age Group swimming championship, showing that she can cut it at the Asian level. And while her star rises, the Dolphin Aquatics trainee is keen to ensure her studies are not compromised.

Best version of oneself

Ahead of speaking to DH, the Vidyashilp Academy student was giving her mid-term exams, which was postponed for her to ensure her participation in the continental meet. “If not for my school I wouldn’t be swimming today. They email the question papers, teachers stay in touch with me. Everyone in school is very supportive. Carrying textbooks to a national meet has become normal now,” she says.

And it’s the same mentality of self improvement she brings to the pool. “It’s not about beating someone. It’s about being the fastest version of yourself. I don’t go up on the block thinking I have to beat anyone, I just want to go faster than I have before. At this age, getting to your personal best is very important because at 20-22 we will peak and it will be difficult to improve. So the faster we get now, the easier it is,” she says.

So she is putting in the time. Swimming twice a day with school and gyms sessions sandwiched in between. In a sport where the attrition rate among female swimmers are a cause of concern, there is no such worry with Suvana. When asked about her future plan, the youngster’s voice betrays excitement.

“Olympics, of course!” she says.

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