Australian swimmer, legendary Stephanie Rice is aiming to set up her own academy in India. She has visioned to open up an academy in India with the sole purpose of helping the country’s spontaneous swimmers win medals, and win big at the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games. ​“My goal in the next four to eight years is to have an Indian swimmer on the podium and get inspired and learn from what PV Sindhu did to badminton in India. With her success, she has become a brand and badminton has become lucrative. My goal is to produce India’s PV Sindhu in swimming,” Rice exclaimed, TOI reported. Rice, who was recently inducted as an Athlete Member of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame, one of the highest honours that can be bestowed in Australian sport, plans to run this academy with her coach, Michael Bohl and other experts.

The fame of being a celebrated athlete comes with a lot of responsibilities. And, it gets tougher if there is a pool of aspirants looking up to you. Rice won three gold medals — all in world record time — at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She began dreaming about having her own academy since the day the inside pool journey ended for her in April 2014. That’s when she decided to be a coach and train the next generation of swimmers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Stephanie Rice is three-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time World Record holder. She announced her plans to open an academy in India, for which she will be spending three to four months in the country. 
  • Rice called India her second home. She had visited India on various occasions including in 2016 as an expert analyst during the Rio Olympics, and in 2018 as a presenter during the Pro Kabaddi League
  • She announced her retirement in 2014, aiming to produce Olympic champion from India by 2028

About Stephanie Rice Swimming Academy

The academy will focus on training elite swimmers, mostly 13+ years of age and who are already training at a club, The Statesman reported. On Tuesday, announcing the Stephanie Rice Swimming Academy in India, Rice said, “There are very talented swimmers in India. I believe that all that is standing between them and a medal at the Olympics is world-class training. As a swimmer, I appreciate the immense contribution of good coaching to my own performances, and want to make available the fruits of my own experience, knowledge and training, to others.”

Talking about the academy, she further added, “The plan is to have Stephanie Rice Swimming Academy (SRSA) set out of any city that has a facility that covers the needs of the academy and is also equally excited about the possibility of producing an Olympic Medallist. I will be working personally with the athlete for 3-4 months which will spread out over the whole year. Some years may be more and others slightly less. I want all the athletes in my academy to know me personally and to be able to confide in me. That trust is only built over time so I will be with them as often as I can.”

“So, that is why I wanted to create my academy. We can have a big impact on the athletes here and bring all the Indian swimmers back to India and create the depth of whole swimming squad.”

Swimmer Stephanie Rice
Stephanie Rice plans to get an Olympic medal for India in swimming in 2028
PC Rediff.com

Although, she is yet to reveal the venue as the Australian is raising funds for the project but she will definitely be spending three to four months in India. During the interview, Rice called India her second home. She had visited India on various occasions. In 2016, she donned the hat of an expert analyst during the Rio Olympics, in 2017 she came to the country as the ambassador for the TCS World 10K event in Bengaluru and in 2018 she was a presenter during the Pro Kabaddi League.

Determined to help others

Having spent years into the industry, Rice now knows the perspective of an athlete. She competed in the 2012 London Olympics after undergoing three shoulder surgeries. She finished an unsatisfying fourth in 200m individual medley and a joint sixth in 400m medley. She announced her retirement in 2014. She knows how hard it is for aspirants to have a platform that can give a nudge to their dreams. To have a vision, to leave her own legacy with the country’s best swimmers is a sustaining dream. The country is known to produce world class swimmers for biggest podiums. But in India, the swimming culture lacks in infrastructure and professionally-managed coaching programmes, Rice claimed. In her strive to make a mark in India’s sporting history, the 31-year-old is now determined to help younger swimmers, to coach and to strengthen them into fighting it out inside the pool.

Also Read: Meet the only Indian woman golfer at the Olympics: Aditi Ashok talks to SheThePeople

Feature Picture Credits: Asianet.in

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