Aby Jose

By on February 12, 2021
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Gold Medallist for All-Round Student at IIT Roorkee & National Swimmer

Goa-born Aby Jose has swam through ever tough tides to become an all-round student athlete. What began as fun at the age of five went on to bring him national recognition in swimming.

He credits his father, Thomas Jose, an ex-serviceman of the armed forces and a swimming coach, for building and honing his skills in swimming and water polo  since 2011.

Despite being a national swimmer, Jose never let his extra-curricular activities come in the way of his academic endeavours. His interest in physics and mathematics only strengthened his enthusiasm to understand the fascinating world of science.

He made Goa proud by winning the prestigious Director’s Gold Medal for the best all-round student at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee e-Convocation. Jose also won a gold medal in mechanical engineering and captained the IIT Roorkee Men’s Aquatics team to their best-ever performance in Inter IIT, (overall second place in swimming and fourth  in water polo).

He has been a part of IIT Roorkee’s first rowing team after 18 years to participate in all-India inter-university rowing championships. Additionally, he has been a member of the IIT Roorkee Motorsports team that stood third overall in Formula Green 2020. Jose has won several medals at inter-IIT swimming competitions. 

Aby Jose talks to VIVA GOA about his victories and the people behind it.

Tell us about your student life in Goa.

I started swimming at the age of five and managed to reach the national level. But, I didn’t like swimming that much so I shifted my focus to water polo in 2011, which was just picking up pace in Goa. We were the first water polo team that represented Goa in the School National Meet in 2011. I really enjoyed playing water polo. I was a student of The Rosary High School, Miramar, till Class 10. I feel privileged to have received such quality education and support for building my all-round personality skills. The teachers were supportive and guided us well.

How did you manage to strike the perfect balance between academic and sports;?

Devoting sufficient time and focus for each activity and prioritising is key.

Tell us what it was like training under your father.

My father treated me like any other student at the pool. We trained every day in the evening from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. In the summers, we had morning sessions from 6am to 9:30pm. He introduced me to water polo, which is my favourite sport.

What led you to water polo and rowing considering it isn’t so popular in Goa?

My father introduced me to water polo. We used to play in between practice sessions just for fun. Then in 2011, when Goa was hosting the school national swimming and water polo meet, the decision was taken to have a Goan water polo contingent for the first time. So that was our first competitive water polo tournament.

After that, we still practiced once or twice a week. As for rowing, IIT Roorkee is one of the few colleges in India and the only IIT that gives students the facility to learn rowing. In college, I would practice swimming and water polo in the summers, but in winters the pool was closed so I tried rowing during the off season. It was a new and exciting experience.

Will you continue to pursue your passion for water polo and rowing regardless of your upcoming academic endeavours and career prospects?

I won’t be able to pursue it dedicatedly like in college. Those were hobbies  I enjoyed, but the facilities are rare to find outside college. But if and when the chance appears, I’ll be sure to jump right in.

Tell us about your time at IIT Roorkee.

It was a great learning experience from start to finish. Besides academics, a major chunk of my time was spent in sports, like swimming and water polo, in the summers and rowing and athletics in the winters. Also, IIT Roorkee provided a nice platform for me to develop technical skills as well as new skills, such as project management and leadership. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet some brilliant people over the course of four years.

Tell us about your preparation for the competitive JEE Mains.

I was a student of Mushtifund Aryaan in Panaji from Class 11. The teachers there, especially professor Vyankatesh Prabhudesai, were instrumental in helping me score well in the competitive entrance exams. Though a tough period mentally as I was unable to participate in extra-curricular activities, it was very rewarding in the end. Physics was my favourite subject as I felt it was easier to understand and apply the concepts compared to other subjects. So my interest in physics and mechanics especially started out in Class 11.

Tell us about your family.

My father, who is a former Air Force sergeant, was employed with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) as a swimming coach at Campal swimming pool. He encouraged my sisters and me to swim at a very young age.

My eldest sister, Annie, won national medals in swimming. My second sister, Alisha, didn’t take too kindly to swimming, so she switched to basketball and represented the state at  national meets. 

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