Navi Mumbai: Ten-year-old Dolly Devidas Patil, from Pimpalghar village in Bhiwandi taluka, swam across a 36-km sea route from Dharamtar jetty, near Pen to Gateway of India, clocking 9 hours and 30 minutes on March 14. She was training regularly for over a month along Uran coast as part of rigorous preparation in a run-up to the big event. The Open Water Sea Swimming Association and State Amateur Aquatic Association certified her feat.

Her last lap of 500 metres, close to the Gateway of India shore, remained quite challenging as she was exhausted while struggling against low tide. However, she pushed her limits and touched the shore an hour behind her projected finishing timing of 8 and half hours.

Many young swimmers have started to thrive on the adrenaline rush they get out of conquering the high seas. What’s even more heartening is the fact that many are keen to take up long-distance swimming nowadays along the Arabian coast. And the latest addition to the lot of sea swimmers is Patil.

“She was about to give up, but her coaches kept encouraging her and she responded positively,” said Santosh Patil, head of Open Water Sea Swimming Association, which conducted the event. Finally, Sunil Patil, secretary of Uran Taluka Swimming Association and official observer from state swimming body acknowledged her feat. “She displayed great tenacity while fighting out the uphill task in the high seas,” said Sunil Patil.

Daughter of a farmer, Dolly said, “I almost gave up hope while nearing the goal. I held my nerves and have finally achieved success. I couldn’t have bargained for more.” A class V student of Subedar Wada School of Kalyan, she trains at Salvlaram Sports Complex at Dombivli.

Her father Devidas was a wrestler who won a number of local competitions and wanted his daughter to earn distinction in some sports disciplines. “I had rescued 18 people from being drowned in the 2005 deluge but my daredevil act found no mention anywhere. But I am now being recognized by her name,” said Devidas.

Her coach Shriram Patil was more than happy to see his ward conquering the high sea. “She had a good start from Dharamtar at 3.16am and maintained rhythm throughout. But the last lap was really tough,” said Patil.

Source: TOI-MUM