The more you Swim, the more Lives you Transform- Hridey Sahgal

The more you Swim, the more Lives you Transform- Hridey Sahgal

Swimathon- Triathlon 2019

The fourth Edition of Swimathon was held at The International School Bangalore from 27  February – 1 March 2019 under the leadership of Dr Caroline Pascoe, the School Principal . Varun and Bharath, from the Samarthanam school in Bangalore, cycled alongside TISB students on 27th February. Their success as multi-sport athletes representing NCC in floor ball and floor hockey in 2018 was highly impressive. Additionally, Yathish Darshan, a student of Amogh trust and a swimmer with Down syndrome  joined TISB students in the pool on 1st March, brought with him the inspiring story of his national level achievements in Maharashtra, and clearly showcased his potential. 

On 30 May 2019 during the inaugural National Youth Summit held at the Amity University UP (NOIDA), TISB was presented with the Unified Champion School of Distinction Award 

“This year’s edition of the TISB Swimathon was a platform for students to apply their sporting talents for a valuable cause, and once again served to tighten the bond between TISB and Special Olympics Bharat. Over the course of three days, teams ran, cycled, and swam to both raise money and awareness for the causes espoused by Special Olympics Bharat. It was heartening to see the passion that the Swimathon elicited even after its finish. All of TISB Swimathon 2019’s participants concurred that this interaction between SOB and TISB was an enriching experience, and we look forward to seeing similar initiatives take place more frequently in the future.”- Parthav Shergill, Youth leader Head- TISB 2019

Swimathon- Triathlon 2018

The third edition of the TISB Swimathon, a fund raiser, was conducted at The International School Bangalore with participation of the students of the school and SO Bharat Bangalore Athletes. Following the triathlon layout Athletics, Swimming and Cycling were the events conducted. There is an amount pledged for every lap swam or round cycled or run and every participant attached to a few sponsors. What is unique about this event is the fact that it’s totally student run – both the organizers and participants are students, with the school providing logistical support and a conducive environment for them to lead.

Vrishabh , Youth leader TISB, at the conclusion of the TISB Swimathon 2018 ; “Interacting with athletes with Intellectual Disabilities is not an unknown activity for me. However, with every interaction, I feel like I learn something new. Today, sparking a conversation was difficult to say the least. But soon, our halting conversation turned to the perks of bilateral breathing in freestyle, and the uneasiness in the air dissipated as we focused on our shared passion – swimming. Of course, some of the other athletes were quite the contradiction. Their passion for their sport exhilarated us further, showing us all a new perspective to the meaning and value of sport itself.It dawned on me then, that the happiness through this interaction was infinitely more valuable to them than any monetary sum. Their contribution to our community, although unrecognized, is simply immeasurable. They truly have taught me the true meaning of ‘the magic of sport

Swimathon- Triathlon 2017

Swimathon 2017 was held from 31 January-2 February , an initiative of the Youth Leaders from Bangalore, returned at the International School Bangalore (TISB) with greater zeal & participation along with support from Speedo . The event became bigger this year featuring running and cycling along with Swimming thereby increasing the number of participants from 50 (last year) to 120. 40 teams of three members, one in each discipline, were prepared for the event. Seven SO Bharat Athletes participated. Hridey Sahgal, team leader, moved on from inviting Athletes for inaugural laps at Swimathon 2016 to their participation in all the events this year.

Distance covered by each of the team members in 30 minutes was recorded. Planned as a fund raiser, each participant collected sponsors who pledged to donate for each point scored. The event also brought on board Vrishabh Patil, student of Grade 11 to take charge of the Special Olympics Youth Activation. 

Mr. John Power , Vice Principal, TISB met representatives from SO Bharat- National office and the Karnataka Chapter, encouraging and supporting Special Olympics in his school. “We only provide a broad framework and support and let the students plan and implement events and they do it wonderfully”

The Youth leaders – Hridey, Rishi, Abhishek, Amit , Nikhil planned and executed the event meticulously laying out functions for each one of them , involving many more students of the school. They anchored and officiated the program while the senior authorities of the School remained an observant audience.  It was not a place to differentiate between Athletes and students of the school. The camaraderie during the event was clearly visible. Team ESPN covered the event capturing the role of Hridey Sahgal along with the other youth leaders and participation of the Athletes.

Swimathon 2016

Hridey Sahgal, 16 years of age, and a student of Class XI at The International School Bangalore(TISB) decided to raise funds for SO Bharat swimming Athletes in Bangalore and then called up to inform us about his intentions. Being an avid swimmer, he thought of adding meaning to his passion and the TISB Swimathon was conceptualised along with a small team, formed by him to make it all happen. Now, as the event is over he wants to know more about SO Bharat, the Athletes, Youth Activation and also connect with other Youth leaders.

The Event was inaugurated on March 16th with three SO Bharat Athletes swimming four lengths of the pool. They also got to interact with the school students and staff. The Area Director of SO Bharat Karnataka, Mrs Thankam, met Mr. Power, Vice Principal of TISB, who offered continuing support to SO Bharat through this initiative taken by Hridey Sahgal.

Kushal G, Shashank and Lizaba Deepak  were the Athletes who participated in the event.  Kushal G, 27yrs, joined SO Bharat in 2009 having won a Gold and a Bronze at the Asia Pacific Regional Games in 2013. Lizaba Deepak , 21 yrs, won a Silver and a Bronze  at the Asia Pacific Regional Games 2013 and also won a Bronze at the Special Olympics  World Summer Games LA  2015. Shashank , 18yrs, has been with SO Bharat since 2013 and participated at the Global Games 2015 held in Ecuador, South America. The enthusiasm and aptitude of the Athletes stood to match the excitement around them.

Despite having a person with special needs amongst his family friends, Hridey felt that he never had a close interaction the way he had with the Athletes at the TISB Swimathon. On being asked how his conversation with the Athletes went, he said, “Swimming was strong common ground. We spoke like one swimmer would speak with another. We talked about the technicalities, rules and competitions. Having to talk about a common sport struck an instant connect and we felt very comfortable with each other” He was also excited about the SO creatives used at the event. “I really appreciate all the merchandise that was brought for the event. It made the event all the more colourful and further promoted the theme of unified sports”. Even though the SO Athletes were not there the rest of the days, the students happily donned the SO Bharat bibs!

TISB Swimathon, a creation of Hridey, will be an annual event wherein students of the school will swim to raise funds for SO Bharat Athletes to help upgrade their swimming skills to meet international standards. What is unique about this event is the fact that it’s totally student run and done – both the organisers and participants are students. Unlike other fund raisers, this has kids work towards fund collection by earning funds for their lesser abled brothers and sisters by swimming for them. The more they swim, the more funds they will collect from their sponsors who pledge a certain amount per length of the pool. It is also challenging and fulfilling for the participants to sustain and stretch themselves for a cause.
The more you Swim, the more lives you transform!

A team of five 11th graders was created by Hridey, with himself being the Founder &Team Leader, and his friends, Abhishek Bollapragada (Funds & Event Manager), Rishi Rangarajan (Social Media Manager), Amit Ramesh (Digital & IT Manager) and Nikhil Khongbantabam (Design & Graphics Manager). From there they went on to design the Logo, Event Certificate, Sponsorship Sheets Event Posters and even banners to invite the participants, talk about their purpose and the larger gain to the society.

The event was initially planned as a three day program to be conducted on 10th, 16thand 18th March 2016, but due to its success was extended by another day to add a category of the school staff swimming on the 20th. In all, over 50 students from grades 6 through 12 participated, along with several staff members, including the Principal, Mr Peter Armstrong and the Vice-Principal Mr John Power. A total of 5435 lengths, equal to 136 kilometres, were covered in five hours over the course of 4 days. That’s 15 times the height of Mt Everest!

Hridey and his team made us very comfortable at the venue. He is a very smart and a responsible person showing lot of maturity while engaging with our Athletes and their parents”, Mrs Thankam, Area Director, S O Bharat- Karnataka

Although the event is over Hridey’s work is far from over. He has to pull together funds raised through this event along with preparing for his exams which are round the corner. Having opted for Higher Level Physics, Chemistry and Math in the IB (International Baccalaureate) curriculum, he has substantial amount of work before him.

He was introduced to swimming at the age of 6, in South East Asia (Jakarta and Singapore). He worked hard to nurture his forte participating in several national and international swim meets. On his return to India in 2013, his family settled in Bangalore where the weather enabled him to continue swimming throughout the year. Fitness and playing the Piano are his other passions. It is noteworthy, at his age he fosters consciousness to ‘give back’ to the society. Three years back when Uttarakhand was hit by a flash-flood tragedy, he trained residents of his condominium in swimming and raised funds for the flash-flood victims.

This time, once again adding substance to his passion he browsed the net, came across Special Olympics Bharat and ended his search there. Approval and encouragement from his school principal, vice-principle and PE Head further strengthened his vision, giving form to the TISB Swimathon. Even though he will complete his school next year, “TISB Swimathon is here to stay”, says Hridey.

We as parents fully support Hridey’s effort and are glad he has found a way to use his passion to make a positive impact on the society. What is unique is that he is making a difference to a segment of society who probably will not be able to directly comprehend his efforts but its going to make them achieve their goals and get acceptance in their field. We wish him and his team all the very best in their selfless effort.” – Hridey’s parents, Ravi Sahgal and Namita Kapoor Sahgal

Message from Air Marshal Keelor– “I’m overwhelmed reading this report and want to congratulate Hridey for this unique initiative and experience which we have never witnessed before. We have a Youth engagement program but it has never matured to the level that Hridey has taken it to. I would rate this event as one of the finest experiences of our youth engagement program which we have pursued for so many years. I’m stunned by the maturity of this boy, his social sensitivity, his inexplicable perception and the ability to take it to the level that he has done. God will bless him and his family for this”