TACKLING THE DEEP END

Ace swimmer Neil Contractor, who will appear for his HSC examination this year, talks of how he balances studies and swimming practice
Time is of the essence, believes Neil Contractor. And one can take the 17-yearold’s word for it. After all, he is not just one of Gujarat’s ace swimmers in the junior category but also a star student.
“There is a time to study and a time to be in the pool, practising,” says Neil, who is preparing for his HSC exam while simultaneously training for various swimming tournaments.

“I start my day at 5 am so that I can fit in some swimming practice before leaving for school. I return at 12.30 pm and study for almost two hours before attending a two-hour practice session at 3.15 pm,” says the teen who has won one international, 42 national and 100 state level medals for swimming.

Following an hour-long workout at 6.30 pm, Neil takes a half an-hour break before having his dinner at 8 pm. Then it is study hour again till bedtime at 10 pm. Doesn’t it get hectic? “I get a lot of help from family and friends. Even my school helps me a lot. My parents help me stay committed to my goals,” says the student of Ahmedabad International School. Neil believes that youngsters should include extracurricular activities in their daily routine as it will help them stay fit and help them in academics, too. “A hobby or a sport refreshes you. It helps you focus better. If you stick to a timetable, it is not tough to manage,” he says. Neil started swimming as a recreation because he enjoyed being in water. “I realised I was a strong swimmer. So, I decided to pursue it seriously and take part in state-level competitions,” he says.
In 2006, Neil began to take swimming lessons from coach Kamlesh Nanavati. His hard work and dedication helped him become an ace swimmer.
Neil became the first boy from Gujarat to win a national championship with five gold medals in 2012. He also has been awarded the Junior Sardar Patel Award. Neil won a bronze medal for India at the World School Games held in Israel in April 2013.

The write up appeared as a part of column Autograph Pls in Ahmedabad Mirror on sept 30, 2013

Published by Priya J. Adhyaru-Majithia

Journalist and writer, currently writes for Ahmedabad Mirror – the largest daily news-tabloid in city.

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