When did you start swimming?
I started when I was 6. I always had this liking towards the water, so my parents wanted me to learn swimming. They put me in a summer camp and the coach was impressed with how quickly I learnt swimming. So I was put in regular class after that.
Are you a Predator or Buddha when you enter the water?
Both! Depends on the race, in a 50m race I got to be quick and aggressive, where else in a 200m race I have to have a game plan and to execute the same I have to be a Buddha
Any pre-match, post-match rituals you follow
A lot, especially pre-match. Once I get into the car I would not like the like car to take a reverse. I wear the same cap in all my races. I won’t like anyone call me after I talk to my coach. Before I go to my event always I pray before the start. I am a great devotee of Sai Baba, so I go to the temple the day before the race at any cost.
One teacher, you would like to have as your coach.
My mother, she is the best thing I could ask for… she always supports me. She is always there for me during my ups and downs and keeps motivating me. She always tells me that I must not worry about things I didn’t get because something better is on its way.
One win/loss that you are very proud of.
2016 Junior National Gold in 50 Min Bangalore. I was completely out of form because of my 12th board exams and didn’t train for 6 months, but I still believed in myself that I could.
Lamest excuse you have ever given to your teacher?
When I was in the 9th I was so tired after training, I was not able to sit in the class. So I went up to my teacher and told her that I have a fever. She checked and found that I didn’t have a high temperature. The reason I gave to her was “I feel the fever from inside”. Yeah, I did succeed and was allowed to go home.
The toughest punishment is given to you by your coach
We had 3*800M main set, and I didn’t do it on time. So the coach made me swim throughout the session until I did in the specified time limit, by the end of it I had done 9*800M.
What does it mean to you to represent India?
It felt unbelievable when I learnt that I have been selected to represent the country and felt over the moon when I actually won a medal for the country.
You are chosen to endorse a brand, and you get to choose the other cast. Who will it be?
My 11-year-old brother who showcases his acting skills when he needs to bunk school and my school friend Nisha because of her Dubsmash skills.
You have a chance to play another sport. Which one would it be?
It has to be badminton, the game always thrills me and it’s so much fun to just watch the game.
What would be your ultimate achievement?
To win medals and laurels at the world stage for the country and for my parents.
What is on your play list?
I have a huge playlist of good music, but before the race, it’s always ‘hall of fame’.
Your favourite opponent
Maana Patel, she is a tough opponent.
Who had the greatest influence in your life and why
It has to be my mom, I adore her for being strong, independent and the way she handles situations.
Your Secret skills
Apart from swimming, I am good at singing, dancing and painting.
Records that you hold.
I had National records to my name but they are all broken now. I hold 5 state records in Tamil Nadu.
Your biggest Achievements?
My biggest achievement was a bronze medal at South Asian games.
Short term: National games 2017
Long-term: Participate in the Olympics
One teacher who is most proud of you
Esther ma’am! She was my English teacher at the school. She will always want to know how I was doing on the swimming circuit.
Where did your parents meet?
Apparently, my parents were neighbours and that’s how they got to know each other and got married.
One thing you will never do again
Never lie to my mother. She is just too good at finding out if I was lying.
Once on a family trip to Mysore, I got separated from my parents while crossing the road. I was lost for what looked to me like the longest of time. But luckily a group of travellers travelling along with us spotted me and took me to my parents.