Seasoned Indian long-distance swimmer Advait Page has decided to test himself in 200m backstroke at the Asian Games 2023.It carries a multitude of connotations. For some, change is a fresh chapter. For others, a venture into the unknown. Then there are those who see change as an adventure; a chance to redefine boundaries and test limits. And in the world of competitive swimming, where precision and consistency are the bedrock of success, change can be nothing short of overwhelming.
Yet, it is precisely this concept that has taken center stage for seasoned Indian swimmer Advait Page, as he embarks on a journey that could potentially reshape the trajectory of his career.
For years, Page has been an Indian stalwart in the 800m and 1500m freestyle events, mastering the art of long-distance swimming. However, as the countdown to the 2023 Asian Games began, Page made a seismic shift by redirecting his focus to an entirely different discipline—the 200m backstroke. It wasn't a mere whim, though; it was a calculated decision backed by intense preparation, rigorous training routines, and a complete overhaul of tactical strategies.
In this exclusive interview with Advait Page, we try to understand the motivation behind the shift and the problems he encountered along the way. In this conversation, Page offers a candid and insightful glimpse into his journey of reinvention.
I feel like it is a fresh change. It is something that I have never been able to do before. So, it keeps things exciting.
For years, I used to be the top swimmer going to these meets representing India. And I did so at the Commonwealth Games last year as well. But this year, things changed really quickly. And for some reason, my freestyle just did not feel at its very best. And I ended up third at the nationals.
So – again – I see it as a positive change. Maybe, I need to also get better at freestyle by working harder. But a good thing is India, as a country, is moving forward. This kind of competition is always welcome for us athletes. So, that happened, and simultaneously, my second plan, as a backup plan, was to qualify for backstroke.
That was always part of my preparation. Towards the end of my qualifying window, all of my distance events were done and I hadn't qualified. So, on the final day, the day that the qualifying window closed at senior nationals, I had my 200m backstroke and I needed to win with a time faster than eighth place from the previous Asian Games. I was able to just do that. I went with a time of 2 minutes, 4 seconds. And that got me qualified for the Games. And since then, this is what we have been working on.
But it is good to have a little bit of a change. I feel the reasons I wasn't able to do too well in freestyle… I just needed to shift focus a little bit, give my body something different. And like you said, it does help me in a way, that fresh start or restart. I do need it for the next season as well.
You get ready for those long days, but to be able to swim a good 200m backstroke, you need to be comfortable. So that is where our main focus is. Definitely (the focus is on) speed, that's the big difference because (in this race) you don't need as much endurance training.
Over here, every day, we are working on making sure I'm going fast every day, so that I'm ready for the event. So yes, very different, but again, I feel like it keeps things fresh. Because I have never been able to work on these things before, I feel like they have a lot of potential and it is the time I can try to dig into that potential and really make improvements in the backstroke. Additionally, that can also help me in other races for sure, moving forward.
So, if I were to go into a race, I will be more in control, and more comfortable. So, we are in a better spot that way.
He has helped me a lot with just how to approach training, how you prepare for meets and stuff, and also about life beyond swimming. So, he has been really helpful. I have someone to talk to in that regard. Just like Bobby, there are so many other 200m backstroke specialists in the university I train – The University of Florida. So, I have plenty of people to talk to and they can relate to me.
It does require good life management, like time management skills and discipline. It is a lot easier to achieve that there. For some time, I took classes while being in India in a completely different time zone. So, that has been a little challenging. I finish my trainings, then I check if I have any assignments left to finish off virtually. Thankfully, I have no classes to attend but I do have to complete assignments.
So, yes, that is a difficult part of being an athlete, but I'm lucky to have a great support around me, whether it is my teammates or my coaches, both here and in the U. S. They understand my situation and my professors have been a great help.
The next thing I would be looking for is a spot in the final. So, to make top-8, something I missed out on last time. And if I do make top 8, I have to better my performance, and try to get a position as high as possible. I'm someone who rules out that podium finish. So, qualify for finals and to be able to repeat that is something I'm looking forward to do.
I would like to stay flexible. But I do understand that working on one event over the other will be helpful in making progress on that specific event. So, at the moment, it is distance freestyle but I would be open to having a great performance in the 200m backstroke at the Asian Games, and maybe at the national games later. And if they are really good, we could expect to shift.
He has been a teammate since like 2017. So, we have seen how both of us have grown and evolved and yes, it is just a really good experience to have him on the team. And there is a lot of fun as well, sometimes we are cracking jokes, sometimes we are serious. So, it is a good mix of both. And I really appreciate not just Srihari, but everyone on the team for what they bring to the table.
And another thing is the education side of it. Before I was even picked up by Go Sports and Dream Foundation, I didn't know much, but they really take an athlete and educate them the right way about many things. So, I'm really grateful for that support.
Disclaimer: This Article is auto-generated from the HT news service.