Image Credits: @AartiPatel
While twins are a rare anomaly, finding two that both compete with same sport together at a professional level is even rarer. The Patil-twin sisters, Aarti and Jyoti, are true testaments of.
That the twin bond is strong is something that the twin sisters, Aarti and Jyoti, are true testaments of. Although both compete within the same sport – swimming – the twin sisters still find ways to push each other and work together. The breaststroke swimmer has an impressive record behind her in swimming competitions winning 30 national medals including three junior national medals, a senior national medal, six school national medals, eleven All India University National medals and eight Khelo India University Games medal.
Born to a former national-level swimming father, Aarti and Jyoti Patil have been surrounded by swimming and its culture for as long as they can remember. Her father, Bajirao Patil, never won a medal at the nationals. But swimming was a relentless theme in her father’s daily lessons, a big dream for his children.
There is no doubt that the 22-year- old is in the best environment to flourish and her attitude looks to be up there with the best, eager as ever to learn and to realise her potential.
With perseverance, a winner’s mentality, and proficient talent, Aarti Patel has everything it takes to be one of the best swimmers in India.
The Ramnarain Ruia Autonomous College, Matunga, student continues to train assiduously with the hope of one day winning the sport’s biggest accolades.
Their main weapon was that they are twins and, to the untrained eye, identical. We love their positive energy and their twin bond. You may know them from their swimming career journey, regardless we can't wait for you to get to know them better in this interview.
What is your favourite stroke to swim and why?
My all-time favourite stroke is breaststroke. Because I have loved breaststroke since I was little, so I am still focusing on them.
What are your favourite and least favourite training sessions?
I love the short sprints training session, also dryland and weight training session.
Swimming is an individual sport. Even though there are swim teams and relays, at the end of the day you are swimming in one lane and it is your body and movement that results in success or failure in the competition. What did you do to keep yourself motivated in this individual sport?
Whenever I swim, I just focus on my practice rather than competing with others. I keep talking to myself during the workout. Even though I have never been able to achieve a goal in practice, I keep pushing myself without thinking negatively.
As a young swimmer growing up, and that too being a twin, what did you find was most difficult for you?
By god's grace, nothing like this has ever happened.
What do you think your best performance has been so far?
I gave my best performance at All India University Nationals which was held at Punjab last year. For the first time, in this national, I swam back-to-back events with giving my personal best timings in every event.
Swimming is a sport which requires extreme concentration and focus. If you lose even 0.01% of it, you miss the time. How do you manage to maintain both under pressure situations?
To maintain concentration and focus, yoga helps me to keep my mind calm and focused on training as well as during competition period. Whenever I felt that I am losing my concentration, I just take a long breath and try to keep my mind calm and focused.
Let's go back in time. can you share with us how you got started with swimming? How old were you, who introduced you to the sport, and what is it about swimming that resonated with you?
Our Swimming journey started with our father; he has been training us for 23 years. Our father himself is a great swimmer. In 2003, he completed the sea marathon in 13 hours 10 minutes at Greece. He used to take us to play in the water when we were one year old. He then taught us to swim. His dream is for both of us to win an international medal.
Who are your top 3 favourite swimmers of all time?
My father is my all-time favourite swimmer. I keep his ideal in front of my eyes.
Where do you train and where do you consider to be home?
I practice at Police Club and Kamgar swimming pool. I consider pool as my second home because I usually spend 6 to 7 hours of a day at the pool, therefore I feel that strong connection between me and swimming pool.
Is there one moment in your career that brings a smile to your face?
Every time I win a medal, the joy that comes to my parent's face brings a smile of satisfaction to my face.
What's the craziest thing you've ever done in a swimming pool?
The craziest thing is that we used to go underwater and pull each other's legs during swim down.
What's your favourite twin moment?
Whenever we swim together, people get confused that which one is Aarti and which one is Jyoti. In Khelo India University Games, we both won gold and silver medal respectively in the same event, so it is very rare to see that any twin sisters ranked first and second in the same event. So, this achievement was appreciated by everyone and gave us the title of 'Swimming Dangal'.
When you argue, how long does it take for you to become friends?
We don't argue much like other siblings so it takes just 2 to 3 minutes to become friends.
If another twin walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
Take advantage of being a twin. You can give a strong competition to each other. You can make a strong strategy with help of each other. Always motivate each other. Be a pillar of each other.
Do you see being a twin as a strength or weakness in getting to where you are today?
I believe that being a twin as a strength. You don't need any other as a strong competitor during practice. As a twin, we both practice together, we both share our experience and ideology to each other, we motivate and encourage each other. Also, we physically as well as mentally support each other.
What was the biggest fear you had going into twin swimmers?
Sometimes it happens that only one of us got selected due to the same event.
What is your immediate goal and your overall career goal?
Increasing stamina and strength without affecting the body due to lockdown. Giving a good performance in the upcoming competition. And career goal is to win a medal for India at international tournaments, Asian games as well as in Commonwealth Games and Olympics.