Eliminating The Tides: Sharath Gayakwad
For someone who has won 30 national and 40 international medals, an Olympic berth is well deserved. The Asian record holder for the 50 metres Butterfly and 50 metres Breaststroke is the first Indian swimmer at the London Paralympics. The four times national record holder says, “National records have never made me overconfident because my main focus is to always give my best time and keep improving, but being the first Indian to qualify is a great feeling and I hope that many more will qualify in the future.”
While Sharath is training as hard as he ever has, he’s concentrating more on technique, eating healthy and getting proper rest. He adds, “I’m currently in Perth, Australia training hard under Mel Tantrum. My main target is to perform well and to win medals at the upcoming Paralympics and other competitions in the future. I really hope to break world records someday.” Sharath won two gold, four silver and one bronze at the 2009 IWAS World Games and a bronze at the 2010 Asian Para Games held in Guangzhou (China), which helped him book the Paralympics berth.
In spite of being so successful, it’s not just for professional reasons that Sharath likes to swim… It has helped him a lot in his personal life too. “ It earned me self-confidence and respect and made me realise that I have to do what I love.”
When Sharath first entered the pool all he wanted to do was to have fun, but when he came to know that special competitions are held for differently-abled people, he decided to turn pro and started training for it. “The encouragement from my parents, coaches and friends has kept me focussed. Also, I love the sport.”
We don’t want to bitch about cricket, but the fact remains that in India, it’s not easy to pursue a career in any other sport. However, Sharath is not as negative as us. He says, “That is true, but I am happy that I got all the encouragement and support from everyone around me. Also, for the past 2-3 years due to the Commonwealth games, Asian games and Olympics there has been a lot of support coming from the government and a lot of sponsors are showing interest in other sports.”
Tip 1: The first thing to remember when you stand on the mark
The technique is the most important thing. Everything you do in the water counts, from your body position to your breathing and even your mindset.
Tip 2: What you should aim for?
Your main aim should be to better your previous performance.
Tip 3: How fast should you really be?
Quick starts, quick turns and quick finishes are key to a winning performance.
Tip 4: Even concentration plays a pivotal role in victory or loss
Always concentrate only on your own swimming and don’t be distracted by others swimming around you. Positivity is key. Don’t let anything distract you.
Tip 5: What should you do when you come to the surface?
Take a quick breath and hold it for as long as you can while in the middle of a lap. This will make sure that you don’t breathe rapidly in short gaps after the exertion.
Tip 6: The key to the podium
It is essential to have strong underwater kicks at the start of a lap and at each turn. Never stop kicking at any point.