Hard work, dedication and perseverance have helped VKR Meenakshi bag an opportunity to take part in the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships to be held in Dubai from August 26.
For the 12th standard student of Sivaswami Kalalaya school, swimming has been a passion from the tender age of six. Step by step, she has made her mark in every age group and is now one of the best swimmers in the country in the U-18 category. In the recent national junior meet she won gold in 200m and 100m butterfly.
Initially, she was coached by Ilango. Her career took an upward swing after she joined Turtles Swim School. Turtles functions from the TNCA Club, MA Chidambaram Stadium.
About 250 swimmers get systematic training at the facility. B Girish, an NIS coach who has worked with the likes of noted Indian coach Pradeep, is in charge of the swimming school.
“When she came here seven years back, she was talented and had a flair for swimming. Her technique was okay, but she lagged behind in endurance,” said Girish.
“Here at Turtles we taught her the importance of speed, endurance, backed up by solid technique. Meenakshi began to improve steadily. She was a quick learner and hard working.
In just a matter of time she started winning medals and never looked back,” added Girish.
Meenakshi is a bright student and balances her practice schedule and school efficiently. “I am good at studies and swimming. I get around 80 to 85% marks. I never neglect my studies,” said the shy swimmer.
Girish feels Meenakshi is going through a good patch and should do well in Dubai. “Last year at the South Zone meet Meenakshi took part in five events and won all five with meet records. Such is her talent. Although she is short when compared to some, she makes up for it with stamina and endurance,” said Girish.
“Meenakshi takes part in butterfly events which is tough when compared to other events. You need a lot of endurance. Meenakshi with her stamina and willpower is winning fly and IM events regularly,” added Girish.
Meenakshi believes her training at Turtles and the SAI facility and inspiration from ace swimmer J Agnishwar will propel her to win medals in international events.
“My hard work and practice will help me perform well at Dubai. Swimmers from about 95 countries will be participating. Inputs and guidance from Agnishwar will come in handy,” said Meenakshi.