Karnataka Swimming has come a long way in establishing its supremacy in the country. The credit should go to the forethought of many swimming enthusiasts in the state who could visualize the development of the sport in the 21st Century and created a good strong base for the future generation.
When the state was under the ruling of erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore, two prominent personalities in Bangalore had thought of a systematic administration to the sport of Swimming which resulted in the formation of the “Mysore Swimmers Association” in the year 1949. At that time only three Clubs had joined together to form the Association under the leadership of Mr.Shivashankar, the then Principal of Government Law College as President and Sri Bhoopalam Srikantaiah was the Secretary of the Association. The team of office bearers under the guidance of Sri Shivashankar started encouraging children to take up swimming not only to compete but also to save themselves while getting into the water in ponds and lakes.
In the early years, the Science of Swimming was not progressed so much as there was no formal education for coaches to teach proper strokes and techniques. Even though there was no proper infrastructure, it never deterred the spirit Sri A.Jagdeeshwaran, who taught hundreds of children at Chikkere at Malleshwaram and trained them in his own way. Today that Chikkere has been converted into Dobhi Ghat.
Under the guidance of earlier office bearers of the Association, there used to be 2 to 3 competitions per year at Corporation Swimming Pool which was 30 yard Swimming pool. In those days competition used to be held in 100 yards, 200 yards, and one mile races in free style, backstroke and breast stroke events. Later in the mid 50’s butterfly and diving events were introduced.
During 50’s and 60’s many swimmers and water polo players had participated in various National championships as Mysore team. In those days Bengal team and Bombay team were very strong in water polo, inspite of it Mysore team won few medals in 50’s period. After states reorganization in 1958, “Mysore Swimmers Association” was changed to “Karnataka Swimming Association.”
Another prominent person who was responsible for the present growth of Karnataka Swimming in the state was Sri.P.Ramdev who himself was a good breast stroker. He visualized that the swimming sport can only be promoted with the help of proper infrastructure and he really toiled at the Government level to pursue them to build standard Swimming pools in almost all areas of Bangalore. He was instrumental in implementing the 3P Concepts viz, “Pool-Park-Playground” in all areas of Bangalore City. The fruits of his effort are presently being enjoyed by the present generation of children who have brought tremendous laurels and glory to the state and the country in all major National and International competitions.
Sir.P.Ramdev realized that the activities of the Association must be formalized for the betterment of the sport and hence he encouraged more number of clubs in the state and formed a new team of people in 1974, with Mr.Deendayal Naidu a leading advocate and President of Karnataka Boys Scouts and Guides as President Sri.K.N.Nanjappa and Sri Shivashankar became the Vice Presidents, Sri P.Ramdev was elected as Secretary and Sri Shankarnarayan was elected as Treasurer. All the above members devoted their time and resources in promoting the sport and conducted several competitions to develop the competitive spirit among the children.
When Sri.P.Ramdev became Municipal Councilor he initiated number of pool projects in the city of Bangalore. Today the city can boast of five 50m pools and three 25m pools in almost all extensions. And nearly 3000 children are learning swimming and participating in competitions. Because of his farsightedness and excellent promotion which he did in our state, he was recognized by swimming Federation of India and elected him as the General Secretary of the Federation.
The erstwhile Mysore / Karnataka state team used to participate regularly in all the National Championships in 50’s 60’s and 70’s.
Though the Association was formed in 1949 and achieved a history of more than 30 years, it became a registered body only in 1975 under the able guidance of Sri N.Lakshman Rao IAS, who became the President and Sri P.Ramdev the Secretary and many other prominent members like Sri H.K.Vithal Rao, Sri Deendayal Naidu, Sri.K.N.Nanjappa, Sri.Kailasnath Mishra and many others shouldered the responsibility of developing the sport with great enthusiasm.
In the mid 50’s and 60’s there were no formal education on Swimming Science for Coaches. They used to teach in their own methods. After the introduction of NIS Diploma Courses by Sports Authority of India at Patiala, many of our state coaches were qualified and learnt the fine techniques of swimming, diving and water polo and started training the new generation of swimmers in the state. In those days the coaches never had any international exposure either for higher education or for any international competitions.
Karnataka’s swimming became very prominent from the early part of 80’s when Karnataka Girls had shown tremendous progress in the Indian Swimming. In fact they were the motivating factors for many young boys and girls to take up swimming seriously and today Karnataka boys and girls are leading champions in Junior and Senior categories.
Karnataka swimming started major programs in the state when Mr.R.Neelakanta Rao Jagdale took over as President of the Association in 1989. Under his able guidance Basavangudi Aquatic Centre was formed with small group of young children, and today it has become one of the largest aquatic centers in the country. It was his initiative that prompted Bangalore Mahanagara Palike to implement the Private Public participation for the community development. Based on the progress shown by Basavangudi Aquatic Centre, BMP leased the pool to Basavangudi Aquatic Centre for a long term development of the sport. This initiative of Private Public participation has motivated many enthusiasts, to take over Sadashivnagar Swimming Pool, Jayanagar and Vijayanagar Swimming Pools. Today they have become professional Aquatic Centers wherein hundreds of young children are training for competition, in addition to the facilities extended to the general public.
Based on the guidelines set by the forefathers of Association and also to meet the present demands of the sport, Karnataka Swimming Association has revised their objectives to evolve major programs in the state.
When Mr.R.Neelakanta Rao Jagdale took over as President of the Association in 1989, the team headed by him could implement good administrative practices by setting up a centralized office at Sri.Kanteerava Stadium with the kind courtesy of the Department of Youth Services and Sports. This has helped that Karnataka Swimming Association in implementing good administrative practices, dissemination of Information to all members clubs, interaction with coaches, to implement education programs, to Standardize the meet procedures and established an effective Co-ordination with Apex bodies and Government Agencies. All these activities have helped to uplift the sport of swimming to conquer the top position in the state and the country.
The early part of 80’s had seen the upsurge of Karnataka Swimming which was mainly due to the dedicated efforts of coaches like Sri.M.R.Mohite, Sri.C.Gopal in Swimming and Sri G.R.Balaraju in diving.
The early part of 90’s have seen the emerging trends in new coaching knowledge acquired by some of the coaches like Sri.S.Pradeep Kumar, Sri.Nihar Ameen, who have set new standards in coaching and also in their club programming. Today many of our coaches are exposed to International education and competitions and many new techniques have been imparted to the swimmers and also coaches are able to co-ordinate with Sports Authority of India for their scientific supports. Karnataka Swimming Association Initiated through SWIMMING FEDERATION OF INDIA many International clinics for the benefit of our coaches from 1990’s – till today. Today many clubs have shown good progress in the state and many of them have become professional Aquatic Centers. Even Swimmers from other States are coming to our state to train with our coaches. From mid 80’s till today Karnataka Swimmers are dominating in the National championships and National Games. Many Swimmers have won medals at Asian Age group championships, Asia Pacific Championships, SAF games and many of them have represented the country in Asian Games, Asian Swimming championships, Olympic Games and World championships.
The mermaids of 80’s Loraine Verghese, Punita Gupta, Shanaz Shacoor, Sangita Rao and many others have set standards for the present generation swimmers like Nisha Millet, Ahijit.J, Meghana Narayan, Hakimmuddin S.H, Shika Tandon, Rehan Poncha and many others who progressed further and continued the legacy of Karnataka’s domination in all championships. All the swimmers of 80’s and 90’s have paved the way for the 21st Century swimmers who are even more determined and aiming to achieve the highest International laurels in the coming years.
With the excellent foundation given by the earlier founder members and the past Presidents and Secretaries and the former champions, today the Association has achieved the top slot in performance and administration in the country and we are now redefining our objectives for achieving much higher goals at the International levels in the years to come.