Six Indian Air Force (IAF) officers have taken up the challenge of swimming around the shores of Mumbai to mark the 82nd anniversary of the IAF. The officers will swimming against the current and cover a distance of 250 kilometres. The team is bidding to set a record for the longest open water swimming against the current in Asia.
The IAF officials termed this ‘swimathon’ as an event to encourage the youth to join the force. The swimathon is very similar to a relay race, said a team member. Explaining the concept, Commander Rahul Sinha, defence spokesperson said that each swimmer will take over at every hour without any halts.
The team led by Wing Commander Paramvir Singh on Tuesday started the task from the Gateway of India. Sergeant G Narhari, Sergeant AK Patel, Sergeant S Srihari, Corporal Aneesh Singh and Leading Aircraftsman V Tokas will be attempting this feat along with Singh.
The IAF team called ‘Delphinus’, which derives its name from the Greek word Delphis, also meaning dolphin, will be swimming by all the light houses around Mumbai. The team is expected to finish the task within 50hours and will return to the Gateway of India on Thursday. The team will be accompanied by two independent observers from the MSAAA (Maharashtra State Amateur Aquatic Association) who will keep a watch on the team. The team has already swum the English Channels twice in record time from England to France.
The team is up against numerous challenges including the turning tide, heavy ocean traffic, and the high level of pollution in the water. The team has to be careful when they enter Madh Island owing to the presence of the jellyfish. The narrow Vasai creek is another challenge for the swimmers. As per the IAF officials, this is the first swim around Mumbai in clockwise direction and longest swim in the Arabian Sea.
So far, only three teams have been managed to successfully swim around Mumbai in the anti-clockwise route (with the current). As per the records maintained by the Maharashtra State Amateur Aquatic Association (MSAAA) and Swimming Federation of India (SFI) numerous teams have attempted this challenge.