Maana Patel is an Indian professional swimmer. She is the first Indian female swimmer to have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Maana Patel is considered amongst the finest swimmers in India, holding a series of national records to her name.
Maana Patel was born on Saturday, 18 March 2000 (age 21 years; as of 2020) in Ahmedabad, India. Her zodiac sign is Pisces. She did her schooling at the Udgam School for Children, Thaltej, Ahmedabad. After completing his primary and secondary education, she got herself enrolled at the GLS University, Ahmedabad to earn a bachelor’s degree in Commerce. Maana Patel started practising swimming at the age of 8.
Height (approx.): 5’6″
Weight (approx.): 60 Kg
Eye Colour: Black
Hair Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Maana Patel was born to Rajiv Patel and Aanal Patel. Her father, Rajiv Patel, works in the private sector. Her mother, Aanal Patel, is a homemaker. She accompanies Maana for every swimming tournament.
Maana Patel practised swimming under coach Kamlesh Nanavati for the initial phase of her career. She participated in various state-level swimming competitions under his mentorship.
Maana Patel started practising professionally for the national and international competitions under the coach Nihar Ameen. In 2015, she moved to Mumbai for joining his Nihar Ameen Acadamy and started practising there.
Maana Patel practised swimming under coach Peter Carswell during her special training session in Australia, organised by the Olympic Gold Quest.
Maana Patel started practising swimming at the age of 8, when her mom put her in a summer swim batch in Gujarat Vidyapeeth Swimming, in 2008, because, as a kid, Maana’s appetite was very poor and she believed in the fact that “you eat properly after you play in the water.” Initially, Maana did not enjoy practising swimming but with the passage of time, she developed her interest in it. In a time span of two years, Maana Patel started participating in various club events competing with the swimmers of an elder age group. By 2011, Maana Patel started practising swimming professionally under the mentorship of Kamlesh Nanavati and competing in various state level and national level competitions. She won her first national medal in 2011.
Maana Patel marked her first national record at the 40th Junior National Aquatics Championship 2013 held in Hyderabad in 200m backstrokes by breaking the national record of 2:26.41s held by Shikha Tandon at the Asian Age Group Championship in Tokyo in August 2009. At the age of 13, Maana Patel earned the title of India’s fastest female backstroke in 50m, 100m & 200m.
In 2015, Maana Patel became the first Indian swimmer to be selected by Olympic Gold Quest, a not for profit organization that is committed to bridging the gap between the best athletes in India and the best athletes in the world thus helping Indian athletes to win Olympic Gold medals, for their special scholarship program. Maana on her selection said,
It is an honour for me to be supported by Olympic Gold Quest. They are confident of my abilities and believe that I could do well. I want to prove them right by putting up good performances in every tournament I feature in.”
The Olympic Gold Quest organised a special training session for Maana in Australia, where they also provided Maana with a team of Physiotherapists, nutritionists, and doctors. Maana Patel, in 2016, participated in the South Asian Aquatic Championships 2016, ended up winning a total of 3 gold and 5 silver medals for India.
Maana Patel suffered a tear in her left shoulder during her practice sessions in 2017. She was advised to not practise swimming until the next three months. Just after recovering from her first injury, Maana got another tear in her right shoulder. She didn’t practise for more than 6 months and had to go to the hospital every day which broke her mentally as well as emotionally. Maana also suffered from depression during this phase of her life but she didn’t quit. After fully recovering from her injuries, She practised day and night for upcoming competitions. For the first time after her recovery, Maana competed at the 72nd Senior National Aquatic Championship 2018 held in Thiruvananthapuram and won three gold medals in the competition. She also broke her own record in the women’s 100m backstroke event. During an interview, after her competition, she said,
Dealing with injuries is tough for any sportsperson, and I am glad to be back in this fashion! It certainly feels great and more than the medals, I and my coach are happy with my timings. While I created one new record, I missed out on bettering my best timings at two other events (50m and 200m backstrokes) pretty narrowly. So, I am feeling pretty positive right now. Since I had done well at the state championships before this event, I was pretty confident about doing well and now that it has happened, I will be practising even harder to do well at the international level. My next target is to do India proud at the World Championships next year.”
When asked about her recovery she said
I’d transformed as a person after I came out of the injury. I’ve evolved mentally, wiser & mature. Roadblocks & hurdles are an essential part of life. Without them you’d be a robot & life would be very boring. Face it with courage, a smile, learn what it has to teach you.”
In July 2021, Maana Patel received her qualification by the approval of FINA, an international federation recognised by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competitions in water sports, for the Tokyo Olympics 2021. Maana received her approval after the Swimming Federation of India recommended her name for the Universality quota. She became the first-ever Indian female and third Indian swimmer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Maana on receiving her qualification expressed her feelings as
The feeling of getting a berth to the Olympics is simply amazing. I do not have words to describe it. It’s an amazing feeling. Like many kids, I too grew up watching TV and reading about the Olympic Games and now you are there as a participant, a competitor and representing your beloved country before the world stage. I feel it is surreal.”
She also received many congratulatory messages from people across the country, including the Indian sports minister, Kiren Rijiju. Kiren Rijiju took to Twitter for appreciating her hard work and congratulating her for her qualification.
- 2015: 50m Backstroke at 60th National School Games, Gujrat
- 2016: 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay at South Asian Games, Guwahati
- 2016: 4 x 100m Medley Relay at South Asian Games, Guwahati
- 2018: 50m Backstroke at 72nd Senior National Aquatic Championship, Thiruvananthapuram
- 2018: 100m Backstroke at 72nd Senior National Aquatic Championship, Thiruvananthapuram
- 2018: 200m Backstroke at 72nd Senior National Aquatic Championship, Thiruvananthapuram
- 2019: 50m Backstroke at 16th South Asian Games, Kathmandu
- 2019: 100m Backstroke at 16th South Asian Games, Kathmandu
- 2019: 4 × 100m Relay Freestyle at 16th South Asian Games, Kathmandu
- 2019: 4 × 100m Relay medley at 16th South Asian Games, Kathmandu
- 2016: 4X100m Freestyle at 60th National School Games, Gujrat
- 2016: 50m Backstroke at 12th South Asian Games, Guwahati
- 2016: 100m Backstroke at 12th South Asian Games, Guwahati
- 2016: 200m Backstroke at 12th South Asian Games, Guwahati
- 2019: 200m Backstroke at 16th South Asian Games, Kathmandu
- 2012: 66th National Level Meet, Rajkot
- 2016: 50m Freestyle at 12th South Asian Games, Guwahati
- Fastest Indian backstroker of all age groups
- First Indian swimmer to get selected by Olympic Gold Quest
- First Indian female swimmer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics
- Overall Best Swimmer awards five times in the national meets
- Swimmers: Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin
- Athletes: Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams
- Game: Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
- Not only in swimming, but Maana is a scholar in her studies also. She scored more than 90% in her 10th board examinations. On asked about how she manages to balance her swimming sessions and study routine, she said,
It is actually quite tough. My school is quite flexible. If I do not attend any classes, I make up for them in subsequent classes or intuitions. In fact, I got 90 % in my 10th board exams. It is all about managing time well. I spend two hours on my swimming sessions in the morning and two hours in the evening after my school.”
- Maana Patel is an avid animal lover and is often spotted feeding stray animals on the streets. Her Instagram bio describes her as an Animal and bird lover. Maana also runs another Instagrams account called “RoadsideRomeeo,” with the agenda of spreading awareness amongst people to provide food and shelters to stay dogs.
- In 2019, Maana Patel was invited to the TED Talks, a nonprofitable program devoted to spreading ideas in the form of influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity, for sharing her life experience with the world. Maana during her TED Talk session revealed that she suffered from depression for more than a period of two months after her surgery. She said
I shifted to Mumbai to swim. But because of the injury, I had to keep going to rehab and not the pool. So, I had nothing to do in Mumbai. On top of that all the shifting, new coach, new house. I couldn’t handle that. I would throw tantrums at my mother. I can’t really express when talking so I used to write really bad letters to my parents. But my mom knew that life without swimming would be difficult for me. She just wanted me to hang up my suit after a good race.”
She further added,
I told my mom that I need help, see a psychologist. I knew something was wrong with me. I was not clinically depressed or on medication but there was a phase of three months. So the psychologist also tried to move my attention away from swimming. She tried to make me do art and cooking classes. I didn’t, because I didn’t have the courage to start something new.”
- Apart from swimming, Maana Patel has also interest in painting. She posts pictures of her painting on her social media account.
- Maana Patel is a fitness enthusiast and follows a very strict routine to maintain her fitness levels. She often posts pictures of her workout sessions on her social media account.