Vijayawada policeman swims Palk Strait in record time

Hour of glory: M Tulasi Chaitanya being greeted by schoolchildren after accomplishing the feat, at Dhanushkodi near Rameswaram on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

When Chennai-based engineering student Raja Eswara Prabhu set a “new record” on Saturday, swimming the Palk Strait from Talaimannar to Arichalmunai in Danushkodi in 11 hours and 58 minutes, he would have least imagined that his record would be broken in less than 24 hours.

True to the adage ‘records are meant to be broken’, M. Tulasi Chaitanya (29), a head constable in Vijayawada and an ace swimmer, broke the record on Sunday swimming it in 8 hours and 25 minutes.

After taking the plunge in Talaimannar at 1 am, he reached the shore at Arichalmunai at 9 25 am, crossing the 30 to 32 km long stretch in the “record time”, overcoming strong water current and braving jelly fish. Initially, the waves were favourable but turned against him after he crossed the IMBL, he said.

Claps and cheers rent the air at the eastern tip of the island as Mr. Chaithanya touched the shore. His family members, members of the aquatic association, Madurai, fishermen leader N J Bose, Deputy Director of Fisheries Isac Jayakumar and a host of tourists garlanded and accorded him a rousing reception.

“I do not know this is a new record but I am happy to swim the stretch in less than 9 hours,” a beaming Mr. Chaitanya told The Hindu. He had set a target of swimming 10 km in three hours and swam the distance without taking break. He took water for every half an hour.

“I owe swimming and this feat to ADGP Rajiv Trivedi,” he says. The IPS officer, who swam the stretch in March 2011 in 12 hours and 31 minutes, had been a great source of inspiration to him, he says. The achievement would also not have been possible but for Indian coach Pradeep Sreedharan, he said.

He had been into swimming since the age of 9 years and brought laurels to the Andhra Pradesh Police winning several awards in national and international events. His ambition is to cross the seven seas in the near future, he says.

Mr. Chaitanya was accompanied by his coach Balaga Ganesh, two swimmers and a couple of local fishermen in a boat. Prior to the feat, he obtained clearances from the Ministries of the Home Affairs, the External Affairs and the Defence, the Navy, the Coast Guard, the High Commission of India in Colombo and the Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka, he said.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 12:14:40 PM |

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