Nisha had a near drowning experience at the age of 5 years, following which her father insisted she overcome her fear and learn how to swim. In 1991, Nisha learnt how to swim under the guidance of her father, Aubrey at Shenoynagar Club, Chennai. By 1992, Nisha had won her first state level medal in 50m freestyle, in Chennai.
In 1994, while still a sub-junior, Nisha won all five freestyle gold medals at the Senior National Level and beat India’s top swimmers. The same year, she also won her first international medal at the Asian Age Group Championships in Hong Kong. This was the start of Nisha’s reign.
Nisha represented India at the 1998 Asian Games (Thailand), World Championships (Perth 1999, Indianapolis 2004) and won medals for the country at both the Afro-Asian Games and SAF Games. She was the only Indian athlete to win 14 gold medals at the National Games in 1999. At the peak of her career, Nisha represented India at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the 200m freestyle, where she won her heat, but failed to qualify for the semi-finals. After undergoing back surgery in 2002, she narrowly missed out on the 2004 Olympic qualification and decided to retire from competitive swimming due to heavy financial burden on her parents.
She credits a large part of her success to Pradeep Kumar, at the Basvangudi Aquatic Center.
Nisha held the national record/ best Indian performance in the 200m and 400m freestyle for 15 years, ending 2015. She also holds the distinction of being the first Indian swimmer to break the one minute barrier in the 100m freestyle.
- Prime Minister's award for best sportswoman of the national games - 1997 and 1999.
- Highest Gold medals (14) in sports in the Manipur National Games - 1999
- Arjuna Award given to highest sports person in India - 2000
- Rajyotsava Award - 2001
- Karnataka State Ekalavya Award - 2002
- Afro-Asian games, women's backstroke Silver medal - 2003
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