Interview with swimmer Rohit Imoliya: I want to win an Olympic medal for India

Sudeshna Banerjee

Rohit Imoliya at the FINA World Swimming Championships 2012

At 17, Indore boy Rohit Imoliya is making quite a splash in the pool with 13 records in national championships. And he just validated his immense talent further by becoming the youngest swimmer from the city to represent India in the recent World School Games held in Israel. Born a winner, Rohit returned home only after grabbing two medals – his first international medals – a bronze in the 4x50m IM Relay and another bronze in the 100m Backstroke race.

Life changed for him as he moved to Bangalore in May 2011 to train under the eminent swimming coach, Nihar Ameen, and is now supported by the GoSports Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at nurturing young talent for Olympics. Recently, Sportskeeda caught up with him where he talked about his training, his goals, his participation at the Short Course Worlds last year and about meeting one of the world’s most renowned faces in swimming – Ryan Lochte.

Congrats on winning two medals at the World School Games. How does it feel winning medals for the country for the first time?

Of course, I am very happy after getting medals for the country.

Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you start swimming? Who inspired you to take it up?

I started swimming at the age of 7 in Indore in 2003. My elder brother, Mohit Imoliya, who is also a swimmer, inspired me to take it up.

Where do you currently train and who is your coach? Please elaborate on your current training schedule.

Since May 2011, I have been training at Dolphin Academy in Bangalore under Nihar Ameen. My daily routine starts at 5am when I swim for three hours till 8am. Then after a 3 hour rest, I work out at the gym from 11am to 12.30pm. Afterwards, in the evening I have to undergo another training session in the pool from 5pm to 8pm.

How do you manage studies and training simultaneously? Do you miss the normal life of a teenager?

I am currently a 12th standard student of NDPS Indore. I continue my studies here in Bangalore and have to go Indore to take the exams. I get to hangout with my friends in Bangalore but I do miss my school life which is very important for any teenager and also all my friends back in Indore.

Who is your idol in the world of swimming? What are the other activities you love to indulge in apart from swimming?

Sandeep Sejwal is my idol and I am also a big admirer of Ryan Lochte. I love watching football and support Manchester United. I also love listening to music, especially Punjabi songs and I am a huge fan of Enrique.

How much help and support has GoSports Foundation been giving to your career?

They have been very supportive towards my career. GoSports Foundation has given me Rs. 1.5 lakh as scholarship. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to do get all the opportunities.

Virdhawal Khade and Sandeep Sejwal are two swimmers supported by GoSports Foundation who have been doing well in the international field. Their performances must be a big motivating factor for you. Do you get any tips from them?

Yes, I train with them everyday and they motivate me all the time. Every time I make a mistake, they are always there to help me out and show me the right way.

With 11 national records in backstroke, your forte must be the backstroke?

Yes, backstroke is my main stroke.

You must have learnt a lot by participating in the Short Course Worlds in Istanbul last year? How was the experience of meeting one of the world’s best backstrokers, Ryan Lochte, there? Did he give you any advice?

Oh yes, the Short Course Worlds last year was a very big learning experience for all of us. We all got to judge our level against the world’s best and got to understand how much more effort we have to put into our training everyday.

Meeting Ryan Lochte was wonderful. I got to meet him when he was warming up, so I couldn’t get to speak. I hope I can meet him again.

What’s the next event that you will be participating in?

My next event is the Singapore Open in June and then the Junior Nationals in Hyderabad in July.

What are your goals for 2013?

Next year, the Youth Olympics will be held in China in the month of August and the qualifiers will start from July this year. I hope to reach the qualifying mark by then.

What is your ultimate aim as a swimmer?

I want to win an Olympic medal for India.

Edited by Staff Editor


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