Snehan, a fourteen-year-old boy from India is the youngest in the world to swim in the North Channel, the strait between Northern Ireland and south-western Scotland. He performed the feat as part of a six-member team from India that crossed the 35km strait in a relay format. The independent team from India, comprising of three para swimmers and three able-bodied swimmers swam across the strait starting from 6:30 am and completed the swim by 9:09 pm.
Notably, the North Channel is among the Ocean’s Seven or the list of seven marathon open water swims. The most challenging factor of swimming across the North Channel is that even the summer temperature of the water is around 12 to 15 degrees Centigrade. Swimming across such waters for a long duration requires special acclimatization and training, over and above the experience of marathon open water swimming.
Starting from Robbie Island (Northern Ireland), the Indian relay team took turns and swam to Port Patrick (Scotland), covering the 35km distance in a duration of 14 hours and 34 minutes. Being a challenging stretch to swim across, only the most experienced and confident swimmers take up this challenge and 14-year-old Snehan was just that, says his coach Vijaykumar.
In terms of the special training undertaken to get used to the cold water, Snehan and the team had reached Europe weeks in advance and started training for nearly four hours a day in the open waters.