KOCHI: Aram Paul never thought that his son Paul would turn out to be a passionate swimmer. However, the Class XII student of Greets Public School at Kaloor has taken to swimming like fish to the water, and is now winning medals in the national meets.
The young swimmer grabbed eyeballs with a superb show at the recent National Swimming Competition in the under-19 category held in Rajkot, Gujarat. “Paul bagged one gold and four silver medals,” says Aram. “He participated in the 400m individual medley (gold), and won silver medals in 200m individual medley, 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly and 1,500m events.”
Paul says he was not into swimming at first. “We were earlier in Dubai, and I was into sports such as horse riding, golf and basketball,” he says. “One day, when I was in Class 6, I came to know about selection being held for a swimming competition, and thought of giving it a shot.”
There was a challenge ahead. To make it to the team, he would have to trounce another swimmer. That was the start. Paul trained hard and got into the team by beating the frontrunner during the selection.
“He began winning medals, and expressed his desire to get professionally trained,” says Paul’s father.
After the family came back to Kerala, Paul joined a professional training academy and started participating in competitions held at the district, state and national levels.
With board exams ahead, how does he juggle studies and training? “Managing studies and swimming is very difficult. I have to train for six hours (three hours in the morning and evening )) every day. But my school principal and teachers have been providing great support. Without them, I would have never reached this position,” says Paul.
Talking about the national swimming competition at Rajkot, Paul says: “It was a different experience. The pool was freezing cold. Coming from a different climate zone, I was not used to that weather. However, I managed to win one gold and four silver medals. I would like to thank my coach Archana Unnikrishan for helping me achieve success.”
Paul has big dreams. He plans to take a break from studies after completing Class XII and dive fully into the sport. “Swimming has become my passion, and I aim to travel further in the sport. My dream is to represent India in the Olympics,” says Paul.