For most athletes, breaking a single national record could be a highlight of their entire career, but for Apeksha Fernandes, breaking five national records is simply business as usual. The promising swimmer exceeded all expectations at the Junior National Championship through tremendous dedication and hard work. She now sets her sights on the FINA World Junior Championship in Lima, Peru and hopes to do even better!
In this exclusive interview, Apeksha speaks about the contributing factors that led to her achievements, breaking the 100m butterfly, 50m Breaststroke and 100m Breaststroke category records, her future plans and much more!
Q 1) You recently broke the national record for 100m butterfly at the Junior National Championship. Tell us about the experience and did you expect the result that you achieved?
Before leaving for Bhubaneswar, my coach and I were aiming to break all 5 Junior National records, so we’d trained accordingly. The Junior National Record in 100m butterfly also happened to be the best Indian performance, so breaking that barrier felt amazing.
Q 2) You clocked a time of 1:01:94, significantly faster than the previous record holder Astha Choudhary (1:02:71). What would you say are the biggest contributing factors in this achievement?
Breaking any record is a challenge. intensive training would have to be the major factor. My coach and I put in 3 weeks of work after KIYG to attain such results. Staying strong mentally has also played a massive role in this time’s results.
Q 3) You also broke the record for 50m Breaststroke at the Junior National Championship with a time of 33.49. How challenging was it to beat the previous record holder Chahat Arora’s time of 33.62?
Being a mid-distance swimmer, the sprint event was a bit challenging. Breaststroke is not only a difficult stroke but also the slowest of the four we swim. Having to constantly change the stroke rate for sprint and distance makes it a bit of a mental challenge to keep up to but I like challenges, so I took it in the right spirit.
Q 4) You broke the national record in the 100m Breaststroke category as well with a staggering time of 1:12:83, almost two seconds faster than the previous record of 1:14:42. Tell us about this experience and did you expect to clock such a phenomenal time?
Like I said before, my coach had given me the right sets to help reach my current timing. But I’d have to say that going below 1:14.42 in the morning heats itself was a huge surprise, so it gave me the confidence to do better in the evening finals.
Q 5) Out of the five national records that you broke at the Junior National Championship, which would you consider to be your favourite and why?
Out of the 5 records I broke, I’d consider the 200m IM record to be my favourite because clocking 2:21.34 was absolutely unexpected.
Q 6) What tournament/competition are you participating in next? What are your expectations?
I will be going to Lima, Peru in August for the FINA World Junior Championship where I hope to better my timings and have a good meet.