MANY are inspired and encouraged by their older siblings and swimmer Madara Edwards is no different. Edwards, 13, is already representing TT in junior meets and with more encouragement, the St Augustine Girls’ High School student is expected to make a huge splash in the pool.
Edwards, who is half of a twin, has represented TT at regional level which includes the Carifta swimming championships.
Madara and her sister Maidan would look at their brother splashing away in the pool and felt encouraged to participate.
“I honestly don’t have any (heroes in swimming), but I would like to say my older brother Mikail (inspired me),” Madara told Newsday Kids.
“He was the reason we started swimming because my sister and I would watch him in training. Even though he has stopped now, I’ve grown immense love and appreciation for the sport through him.”
Despite struggling to control her nerves, Madara has already made it to the top of the podium.
“My most memorable moment is when my relay team won a gold medal for the 4x50-metre freestyle relay at the 2019 Carifta Games. It was my first time making the Carifta team and I was the youngest female on the team. I was extremely scared and nervous, but in the end I had fun and it was a memorable experience.”
The Couva resident has also excelled in local competitions. At the 2020 National Secondary Schools Swim Meet, last February, Madara won the top female performer award. She claimed three gold medals and one silver medal in the girls under-12 category. One of her gold medals was in her favourite event – the 50 metre freestyle.
It’s her favourite because “it’s short and fast-paced.”
She added, “It does not require as much energy as the other longer events.”
Madara sometimes needs an extra push to achieve her fullest potential from her coaches at Red, White and Black Aquatics.
“I can definitely improve on my kickout and my aggression in the water. My coaches tend to say that I act as if the water will cry.”
A kickout is how much distance a swimmer gets underwater after touching the wall. Swimmers with a great kickout can make up ground on their competitors by staying underwater long before completing their first stroke.
Leading up to a race is a tough time for the young swimmer. “Yes, I definitely get nervous. Sometimes I can’t even eat, but I battle my nerves with simple breathing exercises to ground myself.”
Madara was inspired by her brother and now passes on words of encouragement to her twin sister.
“I encourage her to do what the coach says and swim to the best of your abilities. I also remind her to focus on and workout her weak points during the race.”
Like many others her age, Madara must balance her time playing sports and doing schoolwork online as there are no physical classes owing to the covid19 public health measures. It was also in the last months of 2020, swimmers and other athletes were able to resume training in public spaces.
The form two student seems to be managing.
“It is very difficult to balance both school and training, but I cope with my family’s incredible support. Swimming also helps in my discipline development, which reflects in how I handle my schoolwork. Most days, I’m tired because we have training in the morning before school and in the evening after school.”
Madara describes the nights as “long,” but believes it’s “all worth it in the end.”