Reyaan Barretto Iyer is raising the bar with each stroke

New York-based Reyaan's mother, Roxanne, who hails from Chinchinim in South Goa, along with her husband, is dreaming about podium finish for her son in the Junior Olympics in the US
SWIMMING TO GLORY: Reyaan is selected for the Junior Olympics in New York.
SWIMMING TO GLORY: Reyaan is selected for the Junior Olympics in New York.

As a parent, you want to see your child learn and excel in a trait, which you never had. And when your child outshines in that field, the joy is unbound. That's exactly the feeling Roxanne Barretto Iyer and her husband Sushil Iyer are currently going through.

And why is this interesting to you? Well, if you are wondering who to cheer in the Junior Olympics in the US, there's always a Goa connection somewhere and here it is.

WAITING FOR GLORY: Reyaan poses with his medals after a swimming event.
WAITING FOR GLORY: Reyaan poses with his medals after a swimming event.

Meet Reyaan Barretto Iyer, the nine-year-old who has made his parents' dream come true after he qualified for the Junior Olympics in swimming in 8 races - 100 yard back, 100 yard breast, 100 yard free and 100 yard medley, 50 yard back, 50 yard breast and 50 yard free and the 200 yard freestyle.

Based in New York, he will represent USA in the Junior Olympics which is happening from March 8 to 10, 2024.

SWIMMING TO GLORY: Reyaan is selected for the Junior Olympics in New York.
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Reyaan was just five years old when he started swimming and it was his parents' dream that their son learn swimming. “Neither Sushil nor I knew how to swim and it was our biggest regret. Once Reyaan started taking classes, he was quickly noticed by his swimming instructor. He started doing full length laps and dives at the age of 6,” says his mother Roxanne, originally from Chinchinim in South Goa, speaking to Gomantak Times Digital from New York.

Reyaan was accepted into a professional swim club by the age of seven and since then has received several awards in swimming in New York and other states, leading to his qualification for the Junior Olympics. 

HAPPY FAMILY: Sunil, Roxanne, Reyaan and Sahaan in New York.
HAPPY FAMILY: Sunil, Roxanne, Reyaan and Sahaan in New York.

IT IS NOT EASY
It takes a lot of dedication and hard work to reach this far and it's because of Reyaan’s dedication and tough nature that it was attainable. His day starts at 7 am when he gets ready for school, followed by soccer and music classes, after which he does his homework and plays with his brother and friends. From 6.30-8.30, every night, he goes for swimming practice and in his free time he plays the guitar, piano and violin like his musician parents, but his ultimate love is soccer.

SWIMMING TO GLORY: Reyaan is selected for the Junior Olympics in New York.
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“I swim five to six days a week for two hours a day. My weekends often start at 5 am as I have to travel the country to compete in several races. It has been my dream to compete in the Junior Olympics ever since I was six years old,” says Reyaan.  

Talking about his dedication, Roxanne says, “It's a hard sacrifice for a little boy who has to give up birthday parties or playing with friends on the weekend. Swimming and his school work take up all of his time.”

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES: Reyaan and his brother Sahaan with their dad, Sunil.
CHRISTMAS MEMORIES: Reyaan and his brother Sahaan with their dad, Sunil.

A JOINT EFFORT

Reyaan has professional coaches dedicated to him, but his ultimate coach and hero is his father, Sushil who is the head of global packaging at Kenvue (Johnson & Johnson). “Even though my dad doesn’t know how to swim, he watches hours of videos every night learning Olympian level tips to teach and coach me,” says Reyaan.

While the entire family makes sacrifices, it is Reyaan's little brother Sahaan (six-years-old) who has sacrificed the most. “My brother had to often stay home on the weekends with my paternal grandparents from Bangalore who travelled to the US to look after him while my parents and I were away for hours at swim meets,” says Reyaan, who says that his brother prays every night for him to become an Olympian.

It's a hard sacrifice for a little boy who has to give up birthday parties or playing with friends on the weekend. Swimming and his school work take up all of his time

Roxanne Barretto Iyer, mother of Reyaan

LOVE ALWAYS: Reyaan with his baby brother Sahaan.
LOVE ALWAYS: Reyaan with his baby brother Sahaan.

Reyaan comes from a family of great sportsmen - his mother's uncle - Carmelito Barretto was a soccer player and full time coach and his mother's cousin Jerry Fernandes from Durga was a renowned soccer player who played for Goa at the state level, was the captain of the Dempo Sports Club and has coached and trained hundreds of children in Goa over the years.

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