L-R: Manav Mehta, Rahul Chiplunkar, Paramvir Singh, Gulupili Narahari, Vicky Tokas, Shrikant Palande
Team ‘Sea Hawks’ set two world records by swimming 557 nautical miles (1031 kilometers) along the west coast of India. This feat was flagged off by Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister for Power at Gateway of India on November 26. Two world records held for longest six person open water swim by an American team ‘Night Train’ for 504 kilometers and longest open water relay swim by 200 swimmers covering 684 kilometers were broken by the Sea Hawks. This feat is also the first achievement of it’s kind in the world in tribute to civilians and martyrs of a terrorist attack.
The six members of Team Sea Hawks swam day and night by taking shifts in swimming for an hour each, after which they could rest for five hours on a trailing boat. The team was accompanied by navigation and safety guide Subodh Sule and an independent observer from Swimming Federation of India (SFI), Shekar Kale.
Air Wing Commander Paramvir Singh (41 years), Retired Sergeant Gulupili Narahari (41), Assistant Sub-Inspector of Worli Police Station Shrikant Palande (33), Leading Aircraftman Vicky Tokas (26),(30) and a student Manav Mehta (16) achieved this endeavor. Sea Hawks team leader Paramvir Singh mentioned that the team is composed of two members representing air force, one from police force and two civilians.
Speaking to the gathering at Thannirbhavi beach on the occasion of successfully completing their expedition, Paramvir Singh said, “Though it was a tough challenge, the team were very enthusiastic about this 14 day swim and none of the members lost heart. We maintained an average speed of 3.67 kilometers an hour throughout the entire distance. Fatigue was imminent and it will take another two or three weeks for us to fully recover.”
Mentioning about the challenges faced by the swimmers, Air Wing Commander Paramvir Singh said, “We experienced strong under-currents throughout our expedition making it quite hard to paddle. Apart from that, our major concern was about jellyfish which are capable of stinging with it’s tentacles. The scariest moment was when we saw jellyfish that were almost 15 feet in length and in thousands. But we had to be composed and stay put.”
Sea Hawks had conducted other such events earlier for two major causes. The ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padao’ movement was observed by Sea Hawks by swimming from Mumbai to Goa. Another cause they swam for was ‘Swacch Bharath’ where they swam 2,800 kilometers in Ganga river.