Ima Aviva – Abdurakhmanova

In this story, I will take you on a personal journey through my experience as a
competitive swimmer, highlighting the crucial role my mom, as a single parent, has
played in my success and how I overcame an eating disorder. Together, we will explore
my goals and aspirations, showcasing the transformative power of determination and
unwavering support. As I reflect on my journey as a competitive swimmer, I am
reminded of the tremendous influence my single-parent mom had on shaping my path.
My mother, Inessa Rothenberg, has been and will always be my #1 role model. She has
raised me to become a smart, talented, and proud individual that helps me pursue all my
goals from this day forward. My mother uses her energy to give me to numerous
extracurriculars just so I can be happy, and be the best of myself. Every mother is there
for their child’s worst and best times just to be there for them every step of the way, no
matter the sacrifice or consequence. Consequently, the pursuit of excellence in
swimming came with its fair share of challenges, and one of the most significant
hurdles I faced was overcoming my eating disorder. When I was younger, during
elementary school, I was bullied for my looks, weight, and religion. Before 12 years of
age, I weighed about 145 pounds. My doctors would always tell me that I am overweight
and constantly remind me to watch what I eat. Now, of course, every Bukharian Jew has
their desires for cultural foods such as Baksh, Plof, Olivie, etc. As a child, I never put a
stop to it, until I decided it was time for change. Young individuals sometimes don’t
comprehend the meaning of “Healthy” regarding calories, fats, proteins, carbs, and
many other macronutrients. I was one of those individuals. So, I would only eat one fruit
a day, leading the weight scale to drop daily. To the point that by the age of 14, I hit my
lowest weight of 85 pounds. Just remembering how I looked is petrifying. I was
anorexic. Anorexia is defined by a distorted body image, with an unwarranted fear of
being overweight. Symptoms include trying to maintain a below-normal weight through
starvation or too much exercise. On my mom’s birthday, she made a speech wishing for
me to eat, and her wish came true that night. I hugged her with tears in my eyes,
knowing it was time to make her happy. Just seeing pictures of me looking skinny, gave
me a “wake-up call” to start eating. To this day, I can eat up to 4000 calories. Most of my
motivation to eat came from swimming. I joined a swim team to calm my insecurities
down, knowing I can burn an excessive amount of calories and not be afraid to
consume them in return. A year later, my coach noticed my hard work and improvement
over time. My race has played a significant role and showed me that I can become
someone special. After doing my research, I have decided that If I keep up my hard
work, stay consistent, and never give up, I can get qualifying times. In other words,
qualify with an Olympic time. Just hearing the word “Olympic” sounds insane and
amazing all at once. To do this, I am planning to train with my coach, join a Division 1
swim team, lower my times, and constantly improve at my hardest and best. Despite the
obstacles I encountered, my determination to succeed propelled me forward, and I

emerged stronger than ever. However, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my
family’s endless support. I currently live with my grandparents, and my grandfather has
always played a fatherly role for me, even though I haven’t seen or kept in contact with
my biological father for the past 12 years. My grandfather was a general pilot and a
professional boxer in his young years. I think I might know where I get my athletic genes
from. My grandmother has been there for me to teach me great manners and wonderful
talents such as dancing, baking, and so much more. My brother, Rodion Pinkhasov, is
now a dentist with an intelligent wife and two beautiful children. My sister, on the other
hand, some of you might know Ilana Pinkhasova. Although, for those of you who might
not know her, she is a very talented makeup artist with a nursing degree! I would also
take this time to appreciate my sister because she has raised me to be very inspiring. As
well as, playing as a second father by disciplining me to become a better person. She is
the person I always come to when I’m happy or afraid, always giving advice and helping
me when I’m in trouble. Looking ahead, my goals extend beyond the realm of swimming,
as I aspire to inspire others and make a positive impact in the world. G-d willingly, when
the time comes, I will marry my soulmate and I eagerly anticipate showering my
husband with unconditional love, unwavering support, and a deep commitment to
nurturing his well-being. In this narrative, I have shared my personal journey as a
competitive swimmer, emphasizing the instrumental role my mother played in my
success. Additionally, overcoming an eating disorder became a pivotal moment in my
life, teaching me the value of resilience and self-care. With my goals firmly set on
inspiring others and making a positive impact, I eagerly anticipate the next chapter of
my life, ready to embrace new challenges and triumphs.