National gold medal winner in open water swimming competition, R. Jai Jaswanth, 10, became the youngest to swim across the Palk Strait, from Talaimannar to Danushkodi, in 10 hours and 30 minutes.
After Indian swimmer Kutraleeswaran swam the Palk Strait in 16 hours at the age of 12 years in April 1994, Jaswanth achieved the feat on Thursday to became the record holder in the Under-11 year category.
The young swimmer, who left for Talaimannar in a fishing boat on Wednesday evening, started his swim at Oormalai point in Talaimannar at 4 am and reached Arichal Munai in Danushkodi around 2.30 pm, covering a distance of 30 kms.
“He is the youngest swimmer to cross the Palk Strait in the shortest time and this is a remarkable achievement,” said M. Vijaya Kumar, coach at Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT).
According to Kumar, Jaswanth had brief breaks for energy drinks and snacks while remaining in the sea. The swimmer had favorable sea conditions up to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), after which they witnessed low tide until Danushkodi.
“It was like swimming in a river in the opposite direction. If not for the adverse conditions, Jaswanth would have achieved the feat in less than eight hours," added Kumar.
The 10-year old had been practising in the Palk Strait up to the IMBL for the past one and a half months. After learning to swim in 2016, Jaswanth went on to win gold at the national open water competition, organised by Swimming Federation of India in Karnataka in February.
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