Rehan Poncha, the 30-year-old former Olympic swimmer and Arjuna Awardee has been an icon with a long list of wins to his name internationally.

Since his retirement from competitive swimming four years ago, Poncha has poured his heart and soul into inspiring the next generation of swimmers.

He has recently taken the initiative “Swimsmart with Rehan Poncha” where he will primarily explore the talents of the young swimmers, which he feels would defiantly get wasted if not fostered in a proper way.

Essentially, he tries to re-invent and re-evaluate himself for becoming better each day. Excerpts from an interview:

Q. How do you work on your fitness?

I make sure I get in four sessions of fitness in a week. My time is spent between cardio on land and in the pool as well as weight training and a lot of core stability and strengthening work as well!

Q. What goes in your mind when you are actually inside a pool?

I have always found that swimming relaxes my mind and takes away all negativity from my thoughts as well.

Swimming for me, has always been refreshing and an escape from the pressures of everyday life.

When I swam competitively, I had to of course think of the things I needed to do well enough in training and competition to be and remain the best.

Today, when I swim for fitness and recreation, I use it to clear my mind and stay healthy physically as well.

Q. How does it feel to be an achiever of Arjuna Award at a very young age and what are your upcoming plans and goals?

I think it was a huge moment of pride for me, my coaches and family when I heard I was being honoured with the Arjuna Award.

To me, the award is validation for years and years of hard work and sacrifice, and embodies a career of two decades of ups and downs, wins and losses.

It represents all that I am as a sportsman and I have immense gratitude for the same.

Today, knowing that I am already successful, I constantly try to re-invent myself and re-evaluate my goals. My goals from the pool are based on mentoring and preparing some of India’s top swimmers to be their best on race day.

Personally, as well, I plan to turn professional at my new sport golf, as progress has been quick and I have, luckily for myself, found immense joy and passion for the same.

Q. What’s your take on the great initiative “Swimsmart with Rehan Poncha”?

When I quit competitive swimming, there was a void in me that needed to be filled, and could, only by staying in touch with my first love, swimming.

This, as a sport, has given me so much and I’ve always loved to give back to it as well.

We have a huge talent and depth of great swimmers in our country. However, I do feel that a lot of this talent goes to waste as young swimmers aren’t nurtured properly.

I believe that Swim Smart attempts to help mentor such young athletes, teaches them the values of excellence as well as life lessons that I learnt from a lifetime in sport.

I’ve been working with some of our countries top group swimmers, and always feel inspired to do so!

Q. Is it better to stick with the same exercise routine or change it up?

I feel competitive swimming is extremely invigorating! However, winning and staying at the top requires long and arduous training hours and these can get monotonous at times.

Therefore, a great coach will always mix up an exercise routine to keep the swimmer motivated from week to week.

So, I do feel that while repetition is always important for correct practice, having a swimmer mentally stimulated to achieve his goals are as well.