Just like he makes waves and splashes in the swimming pool, Dhruv Mishra is the emerging young swimming talent of Nagpur. A Moderniite, and currently in 10th grade, Dhruv took to water just like a fish to the sea at the tender age of 4.
Inside the home of this 14 year old, there are more swimming medals and trophies and this little giant is only aiming to accumulate more. Though he may seem as just another teenager to some, this 10th grader won a Silver medal in 2017 in the School Games Federation of India, and 2 Gold medals in Maharashtra Level State Competition in the same year. In 2018, he had 3 big achievements under his belt. Dhruv participated in SFI Nationals, followed by winning a Silver medal in CBSE Nationals and finished the year by bagging a Bronze in Maharashtra Level State Competition.
We spoke to Dhruv about his first love swimming and his future goals and how he would like to see this sport gain more impetus in our country.
Excerpts from our interview with Dhruv:
- Tell us about your experience in Khelo India.
Unfortunately, I could not make it to Khelo India list, and I missed it by just 1 second. The competition is very tough but I learnt a lot and enjoyed the experience thoroughly.
- How do you prepare for the championships?
There is a lot of preparation that goes before any competition. I focus mainly on 4 aspects; Diet, Concentration, Practice and Physical Fitness. For my diet, I stick to a combination of carbs and proteins. I also incorporate a lot of energy drinks and supplements. The concentration part involves a lot of planning and proper execution for the event.
Since, I am a backstroker, I plan technical things like- phases during the 200 meters, distance I’d want for a rapid start, etc. Practice is the most critical aspect. I practice with a timer for 2-3 hours every day. My coach and I plan vigorous sessions of tapering sets and sprinting sets followed by a full body roll.
Since, backstroke swimming involves a lot of underwater kicking and underwater pull, we practice that a lot. A good start to any race is extremely important, and I focus on that a lot in my practice sessions. An athlete is nothing if he or she is not fit and I make sure I go the gym 5 days a week.
I train with Kevin Agarwal at the Akhada in Sadar. I have specific days allotted for my workout and I stick to my schedule religiously.
- How do you manage study and swimming?
I try and maintain a healthy balance between the two. After my gym and swimming practice in the evening, I study for at least 1 hour every day. On Sundays I make up for the entire week.
- Is your school supportive of your sport and how have your teachers and principal encouraged you so far?
I study in Modern School and my teachers are very helpful and supportive of me. If I miss out on some classes due to a competition, they give me extra attention in the class. My teachers have been very kind when it comes to marking my attendance too. Since, I represent my school for the sport events; my school allows me to take a retest of my exams too. My school has honoured me with 3 tracksuits and a trophy. I am very thankful to them for always encouraging and supporting me.
- How do you plan to improve your future performances?
I would like to focus more on my leg strength. Since backstroke involves a lot of kicking motions, it gets a significant input from the legs and arms. I would also like to improve my under water swim a little more. And finally, I need to work on my turns. I need to be more agile with my turns and I am sure I’ll achieve all these in 2019.
- Are you happy with the facilities for the swimming in the city of Nagpur?
I am! However, I think there are less professional pools and the city needs to build more pools to attract more kids into this sport. I also think, the budding swimmers need proper training. Nagpur produces only 5-6 swimmers every year and I feel we need a lot more people take up this water sport.
- What is your next immediate goal?
I want to win a Gold medal in the SFI nationals.
- Who are your role models?
Ryan Murphy, the American swimmer, who specializes in backstroke and Caeleb Dressel, a sprinter swimmer, who specializes in backstroke and butterfly, are 2 of my most favorite athletes. I also follow Srihari Natraj from Karnataka. He is an amazing backstroker too.
- Where would you like to train for your future championships?
I would like to get selected and trained in the Glenmark Aquatic Foundation. They have centres in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Training in such a reputed institution would definitely give me a great breakthrough.
- What is your message for the budding swimmers in Nagpur and in India?
Swimming is a sport that needs a tremendous amount of focus and hard work. If you plan to pursue it, take it very seriously and make sure you train hard for it. Be regular with your practices and have a blast!
“Race your race and not the names next to you,
The pool is your battlefield, be it white, green or blue
May you swim across the seas and oceans afar,
Dhruv Mishra, you are Nagpur’s shining star!”