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Want to become a swimmer? Here are some coaching centres in the capital that go the extra mile and can even prepare you for various national and international level swimming competitions. Jeevan Prakash Sharma reports

education Updated: May 29, 2012 15:30 IST
Jeevan Prakash Sharma
Jeevan Prakash Sharma
Hindustan Times

Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Swimming Pool Complex

Venue: Near Talkatora Stadium
Senior Coach: Satish Suri
Fee: Rs. 300 (for below 25), Rs. 500 (for above 25)
Timings: 6 am-11 am and 3pm to 9pm (Open throughout the year)
Age limit: One should know swimming
Phone: 011-23094832

Opened in 1982 just before the 9th Asian Games had commenced in Delhi, this is the only swimming training centre in the capital which is run by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) under the ministry of sports. Be it Khajan Singh or Bhanu Sachdeva, almost all Indian swimmers who achieved national or international fame, had undergone training here at some point of time in their career. There are six coaches who train seasoned swimmers for all levels of competitions.

“We don’t teach swimming. We only admit those students who already know how to swim. We conduct a trial in which a swimmer has to cover a 100 metre distance. In other words we have only those candidates who want to prepare for state, national or international level events,” says an official from SAI.

One of the best things about this complex is that the pool is located indoors and hence remains functional through out the year.

Government Sarvodayaa Co-ed Senior Secondary School

Venue: Sector 6, RK Puram
Senior Coach: Mukund Mohan Sharma
Fee: No fees
Timings: 5 am-8 am and 3:30pm to 7:30pm (March 15 to November 15)
Age limit: 10 years onwards
Phone: 99-680-99000

This is one of the 14 swimming pools managed and run by the sports department of the directorate of education, government of Delhi. Established in 1972, this centre has produced many national and international level swimmers.

MM Sharma, who has been imparting training here for several years to all levels of swimmers has been the man behind names like Praveen Tokas and Jitender Tokas. While the former represented India during the Delhi CWG Games, the latter has led the Indian swimming team for the Asian School Championship in Singapore. Sharma earned the ‘Best Coach Award’ from the Delhi government in 2004.“We have a mixed pool of students ranging from those who dont know anything about the basics of swimming to those who have taken part in state and national level competitions. We divide days in the week according to senior, junior and sub-junior levels and train them accordingly,” informs Sharma.

Government Sarvodayaa Co-ed Senior Secondary School

Venue: Safdarjung Enclave
Senior Coach: Anand Sharma
Fee: No fees
Timings: 7 am-9:30 am and 4pm to 7pm (March 15 to November 15)
Age limit: 9 years onwards
Phone: 9818136473

This is another swimming training centre run by the sports wing of the directorate of education, government of Delhi. It admits students from both government and private schools. Students have to bring their own swimming costume as only training is imparted without any charge.

“We admit around 200 students and then divide them in various sub-groups. Each group gets one hour and three days in a week to learn swimming. The senior players get more hours and days from practice,” says the coach Anand Sharma.

Former coaches inform that the swimming pools run by the Delhi Government are good and cheap options for any beginner. However, except for three training centres - RK Puram, Safdarjung Enclave and Janakpur - the others have coaches employed on a daily wage basis which translates to a challenge.

Khajan Singh Swimming Academy

Venue: Kendriya Vidyalay, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg
Senior Coach: KN Ray
Fee: Rs. 1000, Admission fee—Rs. 500
Timings: 5am - 9am and 4pm-9pm (March 1 to September 30)
Age limit: 5 years onwards
Phone: 011-32933828

In India Khajan Singh is synonymous with swimming. During the ’80s when he was at the peak of his career, he won many international laurels such as the silver medal at the 1986 Asian Games and gold medals at South Asian Federation Games in 1984.

In 2004, he decided to share his experiences with budding swimmers and opened this academy. Presently a DIG in CRPF, he keeps visiting the academy to interact with students.

Well-known coach KN Ray looks after the training regime of the students. Aged 71, Ray has coached Sandeep Sejwal, who is a national champion and will participate in the forthcoming London Olympics.

“We have around 50 students here who take training in various categories such as beginners, pay and play, casual entry etc,” says Ray.

Government Girls Senior Secondary School

Venue: C-Block, Janakpuri
Senior Coach: Tapan De
Fee: No Fee
Timings: 6:30am - 9:30am and 4pm-7pm (April 1 to October 31)
Age limit: 10 years onwards
Phone: 98-688-34092

The training centre attracts students from as far as Rohini, Dwarka and South Delhi.

Two students from this centre were gold medalists in the national event last year and there are many others who have done well at the junior and sub-junior level.

Tapan De, who is a coach here, praises the students’ drive to excel in the sport. “The best thing about all Delhi government swimming pools is that they are all very well-maintained. We see a huge rush every summer. We have around 450 students and out of them 80% are from governments schools. Since we don’t charge any money, we get a good mix of students here.”

Delhi Public School

Venue: R K Puram
Senior Coach: Jitender Tokas
Fee: Rs. 500
Timings: 5am to 8am and 3pm-6pm (April 1 to October 31)
Age limit: 4 years onwards
Phone: 98-106-59292

Jitender Tokas an internationally renowned swimmer is presently in charge of imparting training at the DPS, R K Puram swimming pool.

Apart from DPS students this pool is also open for those students who have won medals in competitions like school national, junior nationals, senior nationals and national games. Admission is given without charging any fees to such students.

The school charges fees from students who want to start swimming lessons. Once these students become good swimmers and go on to win medals in national competitions, they are relieved of any costs associated with training.

“I can say with great pride that I have prepared some of the best school teams in Delhi who have done well at many competitions,” says Tokas.

Babu Ram Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya

Venue: Bhola Nath Nagar, Shahadara,
Senior Coach: Jai Singh
Fee: No fee
Timings: 6:30am - 9:30am and 4pm-7pm (April 1 to October 31)
Age limit: 10 years onwards
Phone: 98-996-01493

Started in the 1970s, this is a well-known swimming centre in east Delhi owned by the Delhi government. At present it has more than 400 students who come from government and private schools.

The first priority is given to government school students. Public school students are given second preference. Three days in a week separate timings have been allotted for girls.

“We don't give admission to seniors or college students because these pools are meant to train school students and prepare them for various competitions. Every year we get a huge response from all over east Delhi because training here is free of cost,” says an officer.

Kendriya Vidyalaya

Venue: Sector - 3, Rohini
Senior Coach: DN Sharma
Fee: Rs. 300 to Rs. 700
Timings: 6:00am - 7:00am (April 1 to October 31)
Age limit: 5 years onwards
Phone: 98-184-12341

With an experience of more than 30 years, D N Sharma is among the senior most coaches in Delhi. He taught swimming for three decades in one of the Delhi government’s swimming centres in Ludlo Castle School before he retired. Presently he is 73 and running his private coaching in Kendriya Vidyalaya’s swimming pool.

“I only take those students who already know swimming and then train them for state and national competitions. I have six students at the moment and I am preparing them for inter-school competitions,” says Sharma.

His fees vary depending upon the student’s ability to pay. “I am passionate about teaching and preparing swimmers for national and international level competitions.I have prepared dozens of swimmers who have participated in many international competitions. Arjuna awardee Bhanu Sachdeva is one of them,” he adds.

Govt Boys Senior Secondary School

Venue: C block, Mangolpuri
Senior Coach: Sanjay Kumar Kadian
Fee: Rs. 10 for the whole year
Timings: 6:30am - 9:30am and 4pm-7pm (April 1 to October 31)
Age limit: 10 years onwards
Phone: 094-167-83185

This is the latest addition to the swimming pools run by the sports department of the directorate of education, government of Delhi. While other pools are of 25m size, this particular pool is 50m long, 25m wide and 3 feet to 7 feet deep.

According to a senior government official, “Since most of the swimming pools in Delhi are 25m in size the government decided to make a bigger pool where students can practice for national and international events. And this is how this pool came into existence.”

Sanjay Kumar Kadian, who is a trained coach from National Institute of Sports, (NIS), Patiala, has been imparting training for past three years. There are more than 450 students who have been admitted for training in the beginning of the session.

Kendriya Vidyalaya

Venue: AGCR Enclave, Karkardooma
Senior Coach: KV Sharma
Fee: Rs. 750 for KV students and Rs. 1500 for others
Timings: 6:00am - 10:00am and 5.30pm-10.30pm
Age limit: 3 years onwards
Phone: 9211767681

This institute is ideally for those people who want to learn swimming more for the pleasure of the sport than for competing at any national or international level event.There are only three Kendriya Vidyalayas – out of all – where there is a 50m swimming pool. This is one of them. This pool is open to people of all ages

“We offer various packages. For instance there is a family package in which four members of a family can take swimming training for the whole session in Rs. 15000.

Besides the normal fee of Rs. 1500 for an individual, we charge a one time fee of Rs. 800 for those who require a beginners course,” says K V Sharma, who is a coach here.
Sharma adds,“All our batches are full now. We can hardly accommodate any new students.”

Rajkiya Adarsh Madhyamik Vidyalaya

Plot No 6, Jhandewalan Delhi
Senior Coach: Edna Sharma
Fee: No fees
Timings: 6:00am - 8:00am and 4pm-6pm
Age limit: 5 years onwards
Phone: 9911465403

Edna Sharma is among very few female coaches who prepares students for competitions such as school nationals and junior nationals. She is an international swimmer and had participated in the 1982 Asian Games.

“I take students only to prepare them for competitive events. At the moment I have 25 students and I am preparing a few of them for sub-junior, junior and national level competition,” she says. Sharma informs that she is in search of talented students who want to carve a niche for themselves in swimming.

“I still take part in masters events and I am extremely passionate about this sport. I would love to train someone who is gifted, hardworking and dreams to make it big,” says Sharma.

First Published: May 29, 2012 15:07 IST