It may come as a big surprise but the plain truth is that the world's fastest 15-year-old swimmer is an Indian.
The honour goes to six-foot two-inch tall Virdhawal Vikram Khade, who is the world's fastest in his age group by virtue of his timings in three different categories.
Virdhawal, born on August 29, 1991, clocked 23.92 seconds in 50 metres freestyle and 1m:54.18s in 200m freestyle at the recent National Games in Guwahati, where he bagged six gold, to go with his 52.12s in 100 metres freestyle at the Doha Asian Games in December.
The 100m and 200m freestyle timings are the best Indian performances.
"Based on the information available, Virdhawal Vikram Khade is faster than any 15-year-old in the United States, Europe or Australia," according to Virendra Nanavati, Secretary of the Swimming Federation of India.
Virdhawal has already surpassed the 2004 Athens Olympic qualifying time in two events and is at present the closest Indian male on the brink of qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the window for which opens on March 15.
"He is India's potential Olympic medal hope in 2012," said the youngster's coach Nihar Ameen, also the programme director and head coach at KC Reddy Swim Centre here.
Virdhawal owes his athletic frame to his father Vikram Khade, a reputed basketballer. But despite being built for the hoop game, as a little boy Virdhawal was cajoled into trying out swimming at the PGT pool near his home in Kolhapur.