Last week’s Junior National Under 19 Swimming Championship brought to light an up and coming swimmer. A fifteen-year-old swimming in the senior category took the spotlight in the championship, ending up taking home the top-most honour in the entire championship.

Pavalachandran Arukshan took the swimming arena at Sugathadasa by surprise at the recently concluded Junior National Long Course Swimming Championship winning three gold medals and two bronze to take the coveted Best Swimmer Award.

Over the years something we hear often from sportspersons is that credit for their success story should go to hard work and dedication. This young lad’s story thus far is nothing different. Dedication, hard work and determination have got him through to the opening chapter of his story.

It is seldom that we see a 15-year-old swimmer dominating at the senior level so ThePapare met with the newly crowned champion to catch up and find out the secrets to his success.

Pavalachandran Arukshan15-year-old Pavalachandran Arukshan was introduced to the sport at the age of nine when his former alma mater, S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia provided the opportunity for swimming lessons. Ever since, his love for the sport has been undying.

“I then participated in my first swimming meet. It was the Public Schools Age Group Championships. I got lucky on my first professional meet itself. I won the silver in the 200m Individual Medley of the under 15 category”

Winning at that tender age provided the incentive for the young swimmer to excel and train harder. However, it was in the year 2014 when he was introduced to his current swimming club, Killer Whale Aquatics, which things really turned around.

“I joined Killer Whale Aquatics three years ago and since then, it has affected my career a lot. I started off with the lowest level and now I have made it to the senior category and now I swim with people older than me.”

Read: Mahamaya & Ananda claim inaugural Under19 National Swimming Championship

The three years at KWA has definitely had a positive impact on the youngster, giving him the opportunity to fine tune his skills in the water.

Last year’s South Asian Aquatic Championship gave him the opportunity to perform on a competitive platform, swimming beside the top seeded Indian swimmers. Arukshan recalls that this helped him in a positive manner to improve on his timing.

Someone who is quite fond of the individual medley events, Arukshan won two silvers in the South Asian Aquatic Championship in the 200m Individual Medley and the 1500 Freestyle. The two bronze he won were in the 1500 Individual Medley and the 400m Individual Medley.

“It was a great experience to swim beside the top talents and I was able to win two silver medals and two bronze medals”

He also recollected the concluded Junior National Championship that remains fresh in his mind.

“This year’s Junior National Championship is unforgettable. I was swimming side by side with senior swimmers and I won. The feeling was great and I hope I can continue this to progress forward”

Aspiring to be one of the best, Arukshan intends to be a front-runner in the country and represent Sri Lanka at the international level.

“The goal will be to someday represent Sri Lanka at the international level. I know it is tough but I will try. I also have my eyes on the 2020 Olympic games and I know that if I work hard, I can achieve that target”

His coaches have always praised the young lad for his dedication and he has always been the enthusiastic one in training.

“Arukshan is hard-working. He has been one of the swimmers who have come up through the ranks from our junior programs and has a lot of prospects to be one of the best” head coach of Killer Whale, Manoj Abeysinghe said, on his student.

With plenty of swimming action lined up, including the upcoming Long Course Swimming Nationals with the Asian Age Group Championship scheduled for later this year, there is definitely a medal hope for Sri Lanka in Arukshan.