“My perspective is the one thing that motivates me and that perspective is not competing against others. I have to swim against a clock which means swimming against myself and beating myself.”
That’s 11-year old Samyak (Sam) Ramchandre from Nuremberg, Germany. Wise beyond his years, Sam is a prolific swimmer who has represented three countries – India, The United States of America and Germany – in international races, winning multiple medals in the process. But perhaps the most memorable experience of his so far would be that of swimming with Jason Lezak, mentor to none other than Olympic legend Michael Phelps. “I got the chance to swim with Lezak on my birthday. It was quite special,” Sam tells us. Working towards his dream of being a decorated Olympic swimmer, Sam sat down with Team Storyweavers to talk about his journey so far.
I first waded into water when I was two and a half years old
Sam’s underwater exploits started when he was made to jump into the Krishna River as a toddler. “My dad wanted me to get connected with Mother Nature,” he says, adding, “I was just splashing around in the water and having fun.” As he grew older, he became increasingly drawn towards swimming pools. Soon, it was during a casual dip in an apartment pool at the age of four that his father spotted Sam’s interest in swimming. “I then decided to go to a swim school, where I learnt how to execute different strokes. That was the first stage of my swimming career,” says the 11-year-old.
With this came the opportunity to participate in competitions. Sam tells us, “In the US there was a competition in the summer called the Tri-county League. There, I stood first among my age group and won the championship. I also broke the record for my club. And when I was lifting the trophy I could see my name on the record. That was my first achievement when I was six years old.”
Having lived in three countries, Sam is in a unique position to have represented multiple national teams. “I was a member of the US national team when I lived there. When I was in India, I was the fastest swimmer in Maharashtra for the 50m freestyle category. My latest achievement is here, in Nuremberg, where I have been selected for the German national team.”
My whole family helps me pursue my career
Complementing his thriving passion for swimming is a rich support system that actively helps him succeed. “My mom helps me with my diet. She gives me the right kind of food at the right time. My dad on the other hand helps me with exercise and other sports. As for my coaches, they help me with my technique, while my sister loves to cheer me on. She is pretty loud though, especially when during competitions!”, he adds, with a hearty laugh. “There are also my grandparents who give me their blessings before every race. My relatives and friends always say that I will be an Olympic swimmer for India one day.”
Sharing their experience during his swimming journey, Sam’s parents talk about their approach to help enhance Sam’s talents. Shitalkumar Ramchandre, Sam’s father, says, “As parents, our first job is to raise children in a way that they become good humans. That’s the minimum expectation that we (the family) set for ourselves and so we started working on it from when Sam was two years old. But the moment we saw a spark for swimming in him, we did not hesitate to help him. So in that way when we look at the entire journey, it makes us feel proud because the important thing is that he is actually enjoying everything that he does.”
Anita Shital Ramchandre, Sam’s mother, also shares how she has taken on the role of an expert nutritionist to help Sam with his dietary requirements during his journey towards an Olympic career. She says, “When I was in Pune, I did a nutrition course. The motivation for this was provided by my husband too. We’d discuss that since our son is now a swimmer we have to make healthy food for him. So as soon as he became a swimmer, I signed up for a nutrition course.”
BYJU’S gives me much more time for my activities
With a packed schedule, full of swimming practice and meets, how does Sam manage his studies? The answer is BYJU’S. Sam believes that learning from BYJU’S makes his learning simple and gives him the time needed to focus on his swimming. He loves the sports-based examples in particular that help him visualise and learn concepts. He says, “If I am learning angles they (BYJU’S) take the example of cricket. If I hit a six, they take a protractor to measure the angle and how far the ball went,” he explains.
Sam reveals that his mentor at BYJU’S plays a huge role in simplifying his method of studying. The 11-year-old says, “My mentor, Ashwin Sir, helps me with my studies. We have weekly discussions about my progress and performance. It’s fun to talk to him because he always asks about my swimming and never hesitates to answer my questions.”
Sam’s father says that it was a shift from the US to the Indian education system that motivated him to enrol Sam with BYJU’S. “When we were kids, the focus was more on play time, but now I see everybody pushing kids to study. So much so that nowadays most kids study under the influence of fear. But when I saw the uniqueness of BYJU’S for the first time, I realised that it is different from routine execution. BYJU’S teaches you to follow excellence. So in short I can say that education with BYJU’S comes with 5 Es: experiment, experience, excitement, enlightenment and exposure. That’s something that my kid learnt from BYJU’S. And these 5 Es are important to shape one’s life, and I think that’s good enough.”
We wish Sam all the very best for his Olympic dreams!
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Deepthi is an ambivert who is on a steady diet of good food, filter coffee, and self-improvement. Being an ardent reader, storytelling has been her first love and she enjoys exploring how to convey stories compellingly. Having studied psychology and experienced the learning and development field, Deepthi is driven to understand human behavior and to know what makes each of us unique. You are most likely to find her tucked into a cozy corner at a local cafe with a Kindle or a book in hand. If you find her there, stop by and say hello, she'd be eager to learn your story too. Until then, you can ping her at [email protected] for anything you may like to share.
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