A.A. Archa, the 17-year-old captain of the national water polo team (juniors), has many to thank for her success story. But her mother, A. Ambili, tops the list.

Ambili, a former State swimming and water polo champion, gave her daughter the first lessons in swimming. She then ensured that Archa received the best training, even if it meant selling their house and living in a makeshift shed. This Mother’s Day, Archa will take her family to their new house in Pirappancode.

Last year, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who came to know of the family’s struggles, offered Rs.5 lakh to the family to build a house. He also offered Archa’s brother, A. Nikhil, also a swimming champion, a job as a lifeguard at the International Swimming Pool, Vembayam.

Shaping her children’s career came first to Ambili and her husband, Anil Kumar, a labourer. The efforts bore fruit, handsomely. Archa became the best scorer from Asia at the International Water Polo Championship held in Indonesia. She captained the Indian team for the international championship, held recently in Australia.

Archa secured good grades in this year’s Plus Two examinations. “I will continue my studies. I want to do BA from Mahatma Gandhi College,” said the student, who passed out of Government Higher Secondary school, Pirappancode.

“I could not secure a job while playing for the State, but I want my daughter to find a good job and earn money. This is what she loves and I am proud she has achieved so much,” says Ambili.

Archa says her next aim is to perform well in the upcoming National Games. And for Ambili, this means another opportunity to do what she has been doing ever since Archa was born — to support her girl to make a splash in the pool.