For the second time, to raise awareness about the rising ocean pollution, an 18-year-old teen named Hazel Raikundalia from Mulund swam for seven hours, five minutes and 49 seconds on Friday. The entire distance was 36 km from the Bandra-Worli Sea Link to the Gateway of India. The state swimming body was monitoring her performance.
Despite being a coastal city with the Arabian Sea to the west, Mumbai is not famous among sea swimmers's destinations due to its significant ocean pollution.
Hazel's first sea swimming attempt was a 14km swim
Hazel, a first-year MBBS student from KJ Somaiya Medical College, had her first sea-swimming experience in November 2021, when she swam 14km from Elephanta Island to the Gateway in two hours and 45 minutes.
Hazel trained in Thane's 50-meter pool daily
Hazel had months of daily training in Thane's 50-meter pool for nearly eight hours without stopping, which gave her the confidence she needed for her 36-kilometre swim. After her first attempt, MLA Mihir Kotecha mandated dustbins on all ferry boats.
Hazel now aims to swim in the English Channel
"Friday's accomplishment was possible due to the months of consistent training under the supervision of experts, said Hazel. "I gained the confidence to cross the 36km route after a couple of attempts in the 50m pool at Thane during the trail sessions for over eight hours without a break," she continued. Her mother, Poonam, a marathon runner, has been her motivating force and regularly accompanied her to her training sessions. "She aims to explore the international waters, with the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar," concluded her father, Mitesh.