Lissome, lythe limbed and beautiful, Brit - Sri Lankan Roshani Motha is making a splash in the pool as a swimmer of repute. Representing the University of Birmingham and the City of Oxford Swimming Club, 18 year old Roshani has won numerous swimming accolades along the way. Nurturing dreams of swimming at an international level, Roshani’s ultimate goal would be to represent Sri Lanka at the Olympics or Commonwealth Games in the near future. With her hourglass figure and striking blend of English rose meets island exotic looks, Roshani who has dabbled in the glamorous world of modelling was a no brainer as our Hi!! covergirl!
- How old were you when you first started swimming?
My mum first introduced me to swimming when I was an infant, just 8 weeks old. Growing up in Sri Lanka I had regular swimming classes at the British School in Colombo.
- What made you take up swimming?
When we moved to the UK, I was only 10 years old and I was really into playing tennis. At the first school swimming gala, I swam for my school house and won all my races. People then started asking my mum if I swam for a club, she then decided to take me to a swimming coach with whom I started intensive training. I really enjoyed it. I found that I was good at it and then started competing in events.
- At what age did you start competitive swimming?
I was 11 years old when I took part in my first swimming competition.
- How many hours of training do you do a day?
I train for a maximum of two to three hours a day.
- On a general day when you don’t train what do you do?
As I am a university student my days are filled with lectures, study, a bit of socialising and of course catching up on my sleep!
- What are your major achievements in swimming?
Undoubtedly achieving a personal best while representing the Birmingham University at BUC’s, the University Games. It was such a highlight for me just to be chosen to represent Birmingham University. I was also the head of swimming at my secondary school for two consecutive years and was awarded the sports scholarship for five years.
- What other sports do you do?
When I was younger I played a lot of tennis especially when we lived in Sri Lanka, I loved playing on the clay courts. Now I don’t do any other sports apart from swimming, as it takes up a lot of my time. I have two strength and conditioning sessions each week which I have to do as it helps my swimming.
- What clubs do you swim for?
The University of Birmingham and the City of Oxford swimming clubs.
- How many kilometers do you swim a day as part of your training?
I swim between 5- 7 kilometers per training session and I train six days a week.
- Your sister is a competitive swimmer too, how involved is your family in swimming?
When you have swimmers in the family, your whole life revolves around swimming. My brother also swims and my mum swims to keep fit. We have early morning and late night training sessions daily and attend swimming galas on the weekends. So swimming has really taken over all our lives.
My dad Roshan is a great cook and when he is in the UK he has our meals ready when we get home. My mum has also trained as a swimming judge so she officiates during the galas.
- How do you prepare yourself before competitions?
I make sure I get enough sleep and eat the correct food just before a meet. I focus on goals much more during my training so that I can hone in on achieving my personal best. I mentally rehearse what I am going to do in my race so that I leave less room for error on the day.
- What is your pet event?
Mainly 50m back stroke but I do the 100m too.
- What are you studying at University?
I am studying Sports and Exercise Sciences at the University of Birmingham.
- How do you motivate yourself to swim each day?
Every athlete goes through ups and downs and no matter how much of a toll my training takes on me, I just can not imagine my life without swimming. It’s best to have a personal goal when training otherwise it gets really boring just swimming lengths, so I have set myself little goals which motivate me to keep going.
My competitive goals this year have been to represent Birmingham at the short and long course BUC games and also to compete at the British Summer Nationals. Achieving a personal best helps you get through the training sessions.
- With all this exercise you must need to eat plenty too. What do you eat on a normal day?
I try to have a balanced diet at all times. For breakfast I have either crumpets, bread or cereal followed by a sandwich at lunch. Dinner is most often a meal rich in carbohydrates and protein.
I don’t really have three meals a day more like five! I do eat a lot but that is fine as I burn a lot of calories in the pool and during my strength and conditioning sessions. I am very lucky as I can eat what I want as long as its healthy. I don’t worry either if I polish off a box of chocolates! Not that I do it every day. I also make sure I drink lots of water as water is so important to cleanse our system.
- What role do you envisage swimming will play in your future ?
My ultimate aim would be to represent Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth or Olympic games. It would be such an honour. Swimming is such an integral part of my life, I think its part of my DNA! I want to be a sports psychologist so everything I am learning as a swimmer will ultimately help me achieve my goal of being a sports psychologist.
- With a great physique like yours have your considered a future in modelling?
I love modelling too. I have dabbled in it occasionally especially when in Sri Lanka. Recently I had a professional portfolio done and now have got myself an agent as well.
I would love to model jewellery and do fashion shoots. Modelling relaxes me as it is slower paced than swimming.
- What is your opinion on the competitive world of modelling?
Modelling is very competitive, especially since the size zero looks is diminishing. So any shape or size could make it, which is how it should be. I am not a size zero and I have a healthy athletic body frame. A shape that many women can relate better to.
- What is your idea of a perfect day?
Spending the day with my friends and family. To coin a phrase I am a real movieholic and I love nothing more than watching moves especially with my family. I am also an ardent fan of the sitcom Friends and I have to watch an episode a day! I think I have watched the series a couple of hundred times and I never get tired of it. Of course I like to do all this while indulging in my other favourite activity which is eating nice food!
- On completion of your academic career what do you intend to do?
I really want to become a sports psychologist. Hopefully this would see me working with top athletes and help them prepare mentally before during and after performances. It would also mean working with a lot of coaches and advising them on how their coaching can have an effect on the athletes.
Text : Tina Edward Gunawardhana
Photos : Sandun De Silva