11-year-old Dubai student hopes to bag Olympic gold in swimming by 2020
Aarya Lakshminarayanan, an 11-year-old student of Millennium School Dubai, plans to make it to the Olympics by 2020.
“My dream is to bag a gold medal for India for swimming in the 2020 Olympics to be held in Japan,” says Aarya. The young swimmer already has a record in her kitty: She broke a nine-year old Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) national-level record for the under-12, 50m breast stroke category, and played a crucial part in claiming a silver medal in the 4x50m free style relay race in the same competition.
Aarya was the first swimmer from UAE schools in the under-12 category to achieve this glory, which is of huge significance given the fact that she had to swim for the first time in 10 degrees Celsius water in an open air swimming pool in the winter at Haryana, India. The experience was entirely new for a girl born in Chennai, and raised in Dubai — both well known for high temperatures and warm waters.
“I felt really happy and good. It was quiet difficult there, but I gave my best. Both the pool and the weather were really cold. My parents and swimming teachers were really supportive. That made things really easy for me,” says Aarya.
Aarya’s school coach, Benny Joseph, says she is a competitive swimmer, who took to swimming at the age of seven. “Through sheer hard work and determination to succeed, she has achieved many accolades in both school level and national-level swimming competitions in the UAE, Oman and India.” Aarya began swimming with her grandfather at the age of seven. “But ever since I started professional coaching, there has been no looking back since,” she says.
She has won numerous medals in club level events, conducted regularly by Hamilton Aquatics Dubai and Speedo. Aarya’s training regimen currently comprises of a one-hour physical workout, and one and half hours of swimming in the club pool six days a week.
Aarya’s mother Srividya Lakshminarayanan says events like this also puts a lot of pressure on the parents.
“We have had to sacrifice a lot of social gatherings to encourage her. We spent a lot of time on her. But I believe that when the child has talent, it is the parents’ duty to support the child. She has shown so much enthusiasm,” she says.
He mother spends a lot of time browsing for information on the Internet. “I gather information on the kind of food that she must eat and we’ve learnt that there should be very little pressure on the child and it should be a healthy relationship between the kid, the parents and the coaches. She wants to partake in the Olympics and as parents, the most we can do is support her.”
In addition to swimming, Aarya also plays table-tennis and is good at arts and crafts like origami, paintings and drawings.