5 youths, 1 girl to relay-swim 1,100-kms Mumbai-Goa return, set new world record

Three teens, including a girl, and three youths will jump into the Arabian Sea at Gateway of India on December 17 for the world’s longest relay-swim – 1,100-kms Mumbai-Goa-Mumbai – and create a new Guinness record, the organisers said here on Friday.

The unique and gruelling adventure sports event is being held by the Vasai-Virar Open Water Sea Swimming Foundation, under the observation of Para Swimming Federation of India, said the event coach and senior sailor of the Indian Navy, Madan Rai.

“Tomorrow evening, around 5 pm, Maharashtra Minister Deepak Kesarkar will flag off the challenging event, they will touch the Fort Aguada in Goa to return, and the relay-swimming spectacle will end on December 28 after completing 1,100-kms at the Vasai Fort, Palghar,” an excited Rai told IANS.

The relay-swimmers taking part in the event are all master swimmers with several national-international records hanging on their swimsuits, he said.

They are: Jiya Rai, 14 and Dhruven Naik, 17, both of Mumbai, Raj Patil, 17 of Raigad, Sampala Shelar, 21 of Pune, Kartik Gugle, 21 and Rakesh Kadam, 26 both of Vasai, Palghar, averaging 19.3 years each.

Rai’s daughter, Jiya – the youngest and sole female participant – suffers from autism and received this year’s Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar Award, and a string of other honours.

Explaining the gritty challenge, Rai said that each swimmer will swim an average of six hours, day and night, remaining upto 7 kms away from the coast in the high seas during days and coming upto 5 kms at nights for safety reasons.

“From Gateway of India, they will swim to Alibaug, Raigad on the mainland, traversing through the main shipping channels, and then turn right straight to Goa non-stop, till Fort Aguada. They will halt briefly at Miramar Jetty in Goa for restocking supplies and then swim without break to return to Gateway of India and then to Vasai Fort on December 28 morning,” Rai said.

There will be huge challenges for the swimmers in the Arabian Sea, one being the constant threats of jellyfish bites which can incapacitate the victim for hours, other big or gigantic fish or marine creatures which can injure the youngsters, the atmospheric temperatures dropping to 20 degrees Celsius at night and the water at a cold 17 degrees Celsius, plus strong winds and powerful water-currents all through.

Rai said on an average, each swimmer will swim for six hours going and four hours on the return sojourn, and each will get their turns every 30 hours in the waters during day or night – and all swimmers have been practicing for the real test since one year.

“Four safety boats, one ship with logistics, lifeguards, doctors, cabins, food, etc will accompany them on the venture with the Indian Coast Guard on high alert for any emergency assistance through MRCC West. The Indian Navy, ICG, Mumbai Port Trust, Goa Government are supporting the event,” said Rai.

The swimmers will pass through tiny and picturesque coastal towns like Kanhoji Angre (Khanderi) Island, Revdanda, Kashid, Dighi, Shrivardhan Bay, Dabhol, Bhudal, Jaigarh, Ganpatipule, Ratnagiri, Vijaydurg, Malvan to reach Fort Aguada in Goa on December 22.

“On successful completion, the attempt will enter the Guinness Book of World Record as “World Longest Open Water Sea Swimming Relay”, said Rai, immersed in the last-minute preparations for the event.

The current GWR is held by an Indian Air Force’ 6-men team, ‘Sea Hawks’, set in 2015, relay-swimming 1,031 kms, to break a 200-members’ Italian relay-swimming team’s achievement of 839 kms in 2008.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)

20221216-135804

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