Anushka Purandare’s first ever Solo Swim gave her a reward to believe that she is First & Only girl swimmer to swim across Gate Way of India to Belapur although two of her teammate boys have already swum this distance and others 2 or 3 swimmers from reverse side.
This 17 years old 11th standard swimmer completed the 24 K stretch in 4.59 hrs. When asked, she reacted.”I was tensed, I have done few races in the sea and river but this was solo, I was all alone in the sea,” She laughed. “I also missed Sunk Rock Race due to my tonsillitis operation”.
Her 10 K Swim in Goa and Porbandar helped her to cope up with the waves. We chose 2nd biggest tide of the year on 12th March for the swim. However, Anushka’s final exams started from that day. “I was worried, I didn’t want to let go this opportunity, but my College Principle permitted me within no time, that was sigh of relief” Tejas Shankaran, an experienced marathon swimmer paced her in last zone.
Just 200 mts before finish, water had heavy current under Belapur Bridge. “I was frightened there; I got drifted away from Tejas in just a second. She looked comfortable and I was struggling, I thought something went very wrong”. But Anushka managed to cross that current and touched Jetty in fashion, by doing Butterfly Strokes for last 30-40 mts.
Anushka is very dedicated girl. She has shown great interest in Open Water Swimming. She had good marks in Board exam but chose Bachelor of Art side so that she can pursue her swimming career.
Dr. Snehal Purandare, proud mother of Anushka was thrilled with the swim. “I attended so many treks, but this was a different voyage, a unique experience” Anushka is now training to gain some more speed to swim much faster, much longer.
Story and image courtesy of Jitendra Khasnis, Swimming Coach, India