The first time Anushri Modi was in a pool, she took to the water like a duck, splashing around and having fun. The La Martiniere for Girls student was eight then.
It all began when Anushri accompanied her mother and elder brother to swimming classes. Watching her brother swim, little Anushri was awestruck.
“I was so happy to see him take 10-15 laps. My mother immediately knew I was meant to be a swimmer. The first day when I was put into the pool, I was very happy and enjoyed splashing about and playing in the water,” the Class XII student said.
Anushri has since added many feathers to her swimming cap, including the state record in 800m Freestyle.
She was one of the winners of the Edugraph 18 Under 18 Awards.
Training and trophies
Anushri started training at the Calcutta Swimming Club in 2011 and soon started participating in competitions.
“If I have to pick my most special achievement, then it would be breaking Ratna Mondal’s 10-year-old state record in the 800m Freestyle event at the West Bengal Amateur Swimming Championship in 2018,” she said. Anushri clocked 10:21.66.
Anushri won a bronze at the Gymkhana Club Malaysia (GCM) Inter-club Swimming Championship in Malaysia in 2014 and the Olimpiade Olahraga Renang National Open Tournament in Indonesia in 2015. She also won silver at the National School Games and gold at the Council for the Indian School Certificate Education (CISCE) Swimming Championship in 2019.
One corner in Anushri’s home is dedicated to her trophies and medals.
Anushri admires English swimmer Adam Peaty and American swimmer Michael Phelps. “Adam Peaty inspires me a lot. I recently read his autobiography, The Gladiator Mindset: Push Your Limits. Overcome Challenges. Achieve Your Goals. I watch his videos before my races for motivation,” the young swimming champ said.
At her club, Anushri’s role model is Anurag Mitra. “He was a senior in our swimming club and is my inspiration too. He was the school captain of La Martiniere for Boys.”
Anushri during a practice session at Calcutta Swimming Club. Source: Anushri Modi
Discipline and hard work
Anushri balances her academics and swimming well. Her day starts at 5am with swimming classes at Calcutta Swimming Club. Anushri’s schedule involves two swimming sessions in a day — once in the morning before school and then again in the evening. “Swimming has taught me discipline. In the initial days, I used to fall asleep in class when I had morning training sessions. But now I have set aside time for everything. I wake up early and make sure I go to bed by 9pm. This way my body clock works fine and I can stay focused in my training sessions and at school.” She competes mainly in long-distance events and her favourite strokes are freestyle and the butterfly.
Anushri has fought a severe shoulder injury and has learnt her lesson — warm-ups are a most before hitting the pool. “If you don’t stretch properly, you form a lot of lactic acid in your arms and legs. This causes injury. My injury was a bad one but not for once did I think of quitting. All those days I was at home, I was dying to return to the water. So, you can call it a life lesson that made me pledge to never give up swimming.”
During the lockdown, Anushri was stuck at home for two years with no swimming practice. She utilised this time to train her juniors online.
Goals and future plans
Anushri is currently appearing for her ISC exams and has already enrolled for a Liberal Arts programme at Davidson College in North California with 75% scholarship. “I want to continue my training in swimming in the US, too. But after finishing my education, I want to return to India and do something in the field of Computer Science and Software Development. Whatever it may be, I am not going to discontinue swimming.”
Anushri is a trained Odissi dancer, too, and loves playing badminton. The 17-year-old is very particular about her waist-length hair. “I love long hair. When you are a swimmer, you have to wear a headcap and make sure all your hair is neatly tucked in. People think it is difficult for me as I have long hair but it’s not. I make sure I tie a proper bun that helps keep every strand in place,” smiled Anushri.
Edugraph 18 Under 18 Award
The Edugraph 18 Under 18 Award is a big achievement for Anushri. “My family, friends and everyone at school were very happy. It is a big boost and I am motivated to do even better,” she said.
Rupkatha Sarkar, principal, La Martiniere for Girls School, Kolkata, congratulated her. “Anushri is excellent in academics and boasts exemplary leadership qualities. I congratulate her on behalf of the LMG family on receiving the Edugraph 18 Under 18 Award for swimming, which is her passion. Anushri is a role model for other students on how to balance co-curricular activities, especially sports, for a well-rounded personality,” Sarkar said.