By Sharon Robb
PEMBROKE PINES, February 16, 2022–Hashan Ekanayake loves to race.
“I just like competing and racing against people,” Ekanayake said. “I am competitive.
“When I’m in the pool I think about the next meet and how can I do better and how can I keep getting faster.”
Ekanayake, 15, a freshman at Western High School, swam the 200- and 500-yard freestyles for his high school team, making it all the way to regionals and just missing states by one second in the 500.
Ekanayake trains with SOFLO’s Gold Group.
Ten years ago, Ekanayake started swimming when his parents started him in lessons at the British Swim School. He became a competitive swimmer at age 8 at SwimFast and moved over to South Florida Aquatic Club five years ago. He has been steadily improving ever since.
“My parents were scared of the water so they wanted to make sure I was able to swim and put me in lessons and I just kept on going,” said Ekanayake, a U.S. citizen of Sri Lankan descent.
“I’ve improved a lot since I came to SOFLO. When I was at SwimFast I was not the best swimmer. When I got to SOFLO I got a lot better with my stroke and speed.”
Swimming has helped Ekanayake with his time management when it comes to school and down time.
“I try getting my work done as soon as I can at school so I have more time to swim and practice,” he said. “I like to relax and take breaks when I have to.”
His dedication is paying off. A week before the USA Swimming Southern Zone Sectional Championships in Orlando, he made his cuts in his events and competed in the meet for experience, he said. He swam a best time 17:46.01 in the 1500-meter freestyle. “It was my first time in the meet,” he said.
His favorite stroke is freestyle. “I like distance mostly,” Ekanayake said.
Ekanayake’s brother Marvan is also a swimmer which makes for some family rivalry.
“We are both really competitive,” Ekanayake said. “But we both swim different events. He is a flyer and I’m a freestyler. We try to stay competitive in backstroke when we compete against each other. It’s nice to have someone that relates to me when it comes to swimming.”
Ekanayake continues to work toward his future goals.
“My ultimate goal is college,” Ekanayake said. “I would like to swim in college. Before that I am hoping I do well in senior champs. My main goal is to make Top 20. Hopefully, next year I made Futures cuts. I am happy with my decision to swim. Sometimes I think about an easier sport but at the end of the day I am doing better. I want to stay with it.”
The meet he has been happiest with was last year’s Junior Olympics in the 200 freestyle when he finished sixth after being bumped into finals after another swimmer scratched and he was seeded eighth.
His athletic focus is solely on swimming although he likes playing basketball with his friends after school.
Each TYR Swimmer of the Month receives a free TYR backpack.
SOFLO sponsor TYR is a USA manufacturer of recreational and competitive swimwear, caps, goggles, triathlon gear and accessories and one of the nation’s top companies.
TYR, created by athletes, is named for the Norse god of warriors in Germanic mythology.
Among its male-sponsored athletes are 2020 Olympians Michael Andrew, Tom Shields, Nic Fink, Townley Haas and Jordan Wilimovsky and other elite swimmers Matt Grevers, Maxime Rooney, Jacob Pebley and Ryan Lochte.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org