Manav Mehta, a Class 9 student of Podar International School (CIE), Nerul, was part of a six-member team that swam from Dona Paula in Goa to the Gateway of India, Mumbai.
Apart from Manav, the Sea Hawks group included Wing Commander Paramvir Singh, who headed the team, Sergeant Gullipilli Narhari, Sergeant Ankan Kumar Patel, Aircraftman Vicky Tokas (all four from Indian Air Force) and assistant sub-inspector Ganesh Palande (Mumbai police).
The team achieved the feat in a relay, each of them doing one-hour long stretches.
They have reportedly broken the world record previously held by an Israeli team in open water swimming by covering 433.11 kilometres in 156 hours, also as a relay team.
The Swimming Federation of India (SFI) had deputed an independent observer to ratify the swim.
Shekhar Kale, independent observer from SFI, said, “Team Sea Hawks broke the world record of the Israel team, which covered 380 kilometres in 123.2 hours in open water swimming as per the SFI data.”
The group’s journey of six-and-a-half days started on February 13 around 4.30pm at Dona Paula and concluded at 2pm on Thursday.
Around 150 people, including friends, family members and SFI members gathered at Gateway of India to congratulate the team.
The team faced challenges such as extreme exhaustion, changing tides, weather conditions, speeding winds, sea sickness, as well as marine life and cargo ships, ferries, fishing boats and nets.
The team dedicated their victory to the cause of girl child education. The team is going to use this victory as a platform for funding Nanhi Kali, a non-governmental organisation working for education of girls in India.
Mehta, the youngest member of the team, said, “As an Indian, I support the cause of girl education. That is why I decided to take part in this relay event. It is a moment of pride for us that India today holds this world record.”