IIT Kharagpur will be hosting the 35th Inter IIT Aquatics Meet from 29th September to 3rd October 2019.
The level of respect the name ‘Madras Sharks’ commands from the sporting community, not restricted to IIT Madras, is unparalleled. They are as formidable swimmers as their name sounds. Those familiar with the institute sporting scene overwhelmingly agree that the IIT Madras Aquatics Team is one of ‘the’ teams they look up to for inspiration. Be it consistency, determination, perseverance, or grit – the Madras Sharks have always lead by example, year after year.
The Legend of the Sharks
The story behind the name alone is enough to inspire anyone. Legend has it that in 2009, the Inter IIT Aquatics Meet was hosted by IIT Kanpur. The entire IITM Water Polo team got food-poisoning before their semi-finals which was scheduled against Bombay, one of the strongest teams. The entire team had to visit the hospital and take drips in order to become stable. Everyone, including our then Dean of Students, had asked them to come back with tickets ready for their return. But the team insisted on playing and reached the pool in an ambulance.
Dramatic enough? It gets better.
They played against Bombay and ended up winning. Bombay applauded their grit and called them Sharks, and that’s how the name came into existence. What once started as an honorary title has come to be one that gives the opponents something to worry about.
Their track record speaks for itself
Currently IIT Madras holds the records in all the events under the men’s category and 4 out of 7 in the women’s category.
They have been consistent in their medal tally, with the men getting the overall championship three times in a row, and women emerging the overall champions four times in a row. L. R. Kamala Devi has been awarded the Best Swimmer for two times in a row. Every year, the Sharks give the IITM contingent a comfortable head start in the overall points tally, which ultimately decides which IIT bags the Overall General Championship.
No crisis is too big for the Sharks
The Sharks balance between their academics and crazy practice schedules. That practice schedule involves practice twice a day and for 6 days a week!
However, the water crisis in Chennai this year made it necessary to close the swimming pool indefinitely, which meant the Sharks had to depend on a third party swimming pool for their practice sessions. (Climate change is real, you guys!)
This meant much less hours clocked in at the pool, but that was no excuse for them. The Sharks have 3 gym sessions weekly, one fitness session at the stadium, and the evening and weekend sessions at the SDAT Velachery swimming pool.
This year’s Aquatics Meet
14 men and 5 women are currently a part of the IIT Madras Swimming Team. Being a close knit community, the alumni of Madras Sharks are no less excited for the Aquatics Meet that happens every year. The extent of hard work and effort they put into training for the event leaves one in no doubt about the level of respect and ‘feels’ they have for the Institute, the Sport, and especially the name ‘Madras Sharks’. They carry the name around like a badge of honour and constantly strive to live up to the legacy their seniors have built.
“The Sharks seem confident of their chances this year, and so are we,” says Shrinath Bhat, the Institute Sports Secretary.
We hope the winning streak continues too.
The events in this year’s edition of the meet are as follows:
Events for men :
50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 1500m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke, 200m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, 100m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 100m butterfly, 200m I.M, 4*100m Free relay, 4*100m Medley relay
Events for women:
50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 50m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 4*50m Free relay, 4*50m Medley relay