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Advait Page aims to make it to 'A' standard for his grand Olympics dream

Advait Page aims to make it to A standard for his grand Olympics dream

Md Imtiaz

Published: 2 July 2019 7:28 AM GMT
Swimmer Advait Page is having a terrific run this season as he continues to make big splashes showcasing tremendous form in the pool. In the recently-concluded Singapore national swimming championship, Advait completed a hat-trick of gold medals, finishing with three golds and a silver. For the teenager, 2019 started on a great note after an equally successful 2018. Last year, he won three gold medals in the senior category at the 72nd Senior National Aquatics Championship held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. His constant effort of ten years have started paying dividends. He even made it to the Youth Olympics last year.

Conquering Singapore

The 18-year-old swimmer from Indore, on the concluding day of the Singapore national swimming championships, clocked a timing of 15:29.54, bagging gold with a significant margin in his favourite 1500 m freestyle category. One after another, Advait kept on turning heads with his performance. Earlier on the second day, Page broke the 10-year-old national record set by former Olympian and Arjuna awardee Rehan Pocha in the men’s 400m individual medley (IM), by clocking 4:27.94. Poncha had set the national record clocking 4:29.89. This feat won Advait the silver medal. He went on win another gold in 200m backstroke clocking a time of 2:04.48. However, the most special event for him was the 800m freestyle category. The youngster clocked 8.00.76 in the category and achieved a B-qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This made him achieve the national record on the opening day of the Singapore National swimming championship. Through his recent feat, Advait broke his last year's achievement of winning a gold at the 1500m freestyle event and a silver at the 800m freestyle.
In a conversation with The Bridge, Advait said, “Out of the four events I took part in, the first one of them was the 800m freestyle. Last year I had broken the Indian record in this event. However, it was later achieved by another teammate of mine. It was a big moment for me to break this record again.” The B-timing for men’s 800m freestyle for Tokyo Olympics is 8.08.54, while the A-qualification is 7.54.31. Advait improved his B-qualification this year. During the last Asian Games, he had secured B qualification with the timing of 8.09.17. Advait, who ranked 185th on the FINA list before this race, moved to a world ranking of 58 after setting the new national record. He is also the top-ranked junior in Asia over the 1500-free and was 6th on the world juniors list in the longer race. Advait is striving to make it to the elusive A Standard of the Olympic Qualification. Later this month, Advait will be travelling to Gwangju, South Korea to take part at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships, where he will aim for the A standard.
“Reaching the ‘A’ standard in swimming is pretty challenging and a gateway of elite competitions. Indians have always struggled to make it. However, the improvement we have made in the last couple of years, make us believe that reaching the mark won’t be a distant dream any more,” says Advait.
It was back in Abu Dhabi, Advait started his journey as a swimmer at the nascent age of seven. It was his sister, Aditi Page, a competitive swimmer who inspired him to take up this sport. "My role model has been my sister. I took up this sport inspired by her and it was she who helped learn the basics and perfecting my techniques in the pool,” says Advait. Their family moved to India in 2009 and he joined the Shishukunj International School in Indore. It was there, he began pursuing the sport professionally. Trained under the tutelage of coaches Mr Abhilash and Mr. Manoj Davey, Advait developed his style and slowly made foray into competitions.
"In 2011, I took part in my first state-level competition, from there I qualified to the nationals. It was a long road in the national circuit where I had to constantly strive to better my performance. My first medal national-level medal came in the year 2015. This medal was probably a big motivation for me, from where I have been able to improve significantly. In 2016, I won the first international medal, representing India at the South Asian Aquatics Championships in Colombo, Sri Lanka,”
said Advait. Throughout his journey, Advait's family had been his constant support giving him the motivation to going the extra mile.
"My parents have supported me a lot throughout my swimming journey. They take care of everything, from planning my schedule, my diet, my academics, logistics and motivate me so that I can give my best in the pool, whether it's in competition or everyday training. I got the best support from my parents, sister and extended family members and that's made me the swimmer I am," adds Advait.
When asked about his reason to choose distance swimming, Advait described, “At the age of ten, I had won the 1500 freestyle in senior category at the district meet. Though I was participating in 100 and 200 metres, my coaches observed that I was going faster than senior swimmers while training in over 400 metre distances. That is when I started focusing in long-distance swimming.”
Advait, who just finished his schooling this year from the Shishukunj Academy, will be moving to the US to pursue bachelor’s degree in sports management at the University of Florida, where he will also be pursuing the sport along with his studies. "It was back in my school, I learnt and developed my game. My teachers and coaches always encouraged me to strive for doing better in the discipline. I had to miss my classes for training and competitions, but they helped immensely in the last ten years to be in my best shape,” concludes Advait. Advait, who considers Sun Yang and Michael Phelps as his role models, is counting days for the World Aquatics Championships, where he will be on prowl to make it to the A list.
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