Our History

Early Beginnings

March 1988 was when Tara Bolling walked into the Sri Lanka Army on “Walk in Faith” not knowing what the future held. None of the parents in the squad she coached at the SSC were happy about following her. They soon joined her at the army pool. Soon the army asked her to train the Army swim team which she gladly undertook. This team had no name or no finances, but just had one desire to build a healthy family environment for its swimmers.

The need came to affiliate the team to the swimming association and the kids were asked to choose a name. Devin Chanmugam chose “RAINBOW AQUATICS SRI LANKA”. Six months later the army was flooded by “Johnny Mine” victims. Ralph, who was the club’s first president and Tara, together with the young kids and their parents, opened their hearts to these men and the teaching training of these disables soldiers began. Rainbows together with “SPORTSMEN IN ACTION” began training in swimming, wheel-chair basketball, soccer on crutches, cycling; athletics were few of the sports taught. 1990 was when the 1st ever army disabled games was organized and ran by these two groups. 1992 was the 2nd games on a vast scale when large amounts of finances and equipment were collected and given to the Army hospital. The Rotary Club approached both these groups to have a swim from Bentota to Mount Lavinia, where they would collect the funds to be given for every 1KM of the swim. 4 disabled soldiers and a few rainbow swimmers swam right through the night to complete this swim. Each rainbow swimmer took 1KM as a relay swim. Twice this swim was held where large sums of money was collected and given to the Army hospital.

All these swimmers were born out of Ralph teaching the rainbow swimmers “that it’s more blessed to give then to receive”. The links of friendship that was built between the young swimmers and the disabled and able Army swimmers are still in existence to date.

Early Competitive Swimming

Soon the swimmers began to stamp their place in the local and international scene. The present rainbow motto “Even in Trials, Give Thanks” was born at this point. Many trials and challenges came along and “obstacles were used as stepping stones greater deeds”

Tara was joined by Ralph and their son David, together with Jeremy Lawrence to form the coaching team. Julian came into the coaching team later on. It is worth noting that these early rainbow swimmers were commended by outsiders for two worthy characteristics and Tara was often asked - “How come rainbow swimmers are always smiling at a meet no matter where they are placed”.  The team was seen as helping each other and helping other swimmers at meets.

A Few Achievements

Olympic Games


  • Julian Bolling                   - 1984,1988,1992 Olympic Games
  • Dipika Chanmugam       - 1988 Olympic Games
  • Meneka De Silva             - 2004 Olympic Games    
  • K.V.C. Priyadarshana     - 2000, 2004 Paralympic Games. He was placed 4th In the finals in both games.
Asian Games



  • Julian Bolling        -    1982, 1986 – was in the finals in a number of events he competed in
  • Dipika Chanmugam    -    1990 – was in the finals in the events she competed in
SAF Games



  • 1984    -    Julian Bolling
  • 1987    -    Julian Bolling, Charya De Seram, Farzarn Sikkander
  • 1989    -    Julian Bolling, Farzarn Sikkander, Inthikab Sikkander, Adrian Jayewardane
  • 1991    -    Julian Bolling, Inthikab Sikkander, Nishantha De Costa, Dipika Chanmugam, Shenuka Hapugoda, Azim Azaain
Some Noteworthy Achievements


Tara Bolling       

  • National Coach for 1987, 1989 SAF Games
  • Assistant coach for 1991 SAF Games
  • Assistant coach for 1988, Olympic Games

Julian Bolling

  • 1984 1st SAF Games – asked to be the overall captain of Sri Lanka’s Team at the age of 17 years. Won Sri Lanka’s 1st Gold medal in one of his events.
  • 1989 SAF Games – overall captain of Sri Lanka’s Team – was adjudges best “Male Athlete” of the games
  • 1991 SAF Games – overall captain of Sri Lanka’s Team – was adjudged best “Male Athlete” of the games.
  • Is the highest Gold medal winner in the SAF region of all competing nations – with 15 gold medals
  • Only swimmer to compete in 3 Olympic Games
  • Awarded the “Deshabandu Award” in 1992

Dipika Chanmugam

  • Was adjudged the best “Female Athlete” at the 1991 SAF Games, winning 7 Gold Medals

Inthikab Sikkander

  • 1991 SAF Games – won a gold medal

Julian Bolling, Inthikab Sikkander & Nishantha De Costa 

  • 1991 SAF Games were part d the 3 Sri Lankan relay teams and were with the team of the 4*200 free style relay that won gold, beating India for the 1st time.

Adrian Jayewardane

  • As a 13 year old in the 1989 SAF Games – won a Silver medal and coming 2nd to Julian 400m Free Style. He also won the Bronze in the 200m Freestyle.

Mineka Karunaratna

  • 2009 SAF Games – won 2 gold medals

K.V.C. Priyadarshana

  • Won a number of gold medals at the FESPIC GAMES.