A good exercise
Swimming is a good exercise. All should know how to swim. It is a healthy exercise. It is also very delightful.
Villagers know swimming
Many boys living in towns do not know how to swim. They use pipe water from their childhood. They are afraid of bathing in a pond or in a river. But in the villages almost everyone knows how to swim. In villages, there are ponds, rivers and canals. Everyone has to bathe in them. In some districts, during the rainy season people have to go from one place to another by boat. Here it is necessary for them to know how to swim. Every little child in a village can swim in ponds and rivers.
Swimming in a big town
In a big town like Calcutta, there are big ponds for swimming. There are many swimming clubs in Calcutta. These clubs teach boys and girls how to swim. Grown-up men also practise swimming in the ponds. Many people swim in rivers. But it is not always safe. There are crocodiles and sharks in some rivers. Sometimes they kill and eat up men.
Swimming competitions are now-a-days held in many places. Boys and girls are thus encouraged to learn how to swim. The name of Bula Chowdhury, a Bengalee young girl, may be mentioned in this connection. She has earned fame as an expert swimmer. Some Bengalees have earned great fame as able swimmers. The names of I'rafulla (Jhosh, Jnan Chatterjee and Robin Chatterjee maybe mentioned in this connection. Some of them swam continuously for sixty hours or more. Several Bengalees have won international fame as swimmers by successfully crossing the English Channel. One of them is a lady named Arati Saha (Gupta). The other three are Sri Mihir Sen, Dr. Bimal Chandra and Sri Brojen Das.
Sri Mihir Sen, swam across the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka and then the Straits of Gibraltar connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. Then he crossed the Straits of Dardanelles and Bosphorous. Lastly he crossed the Panama Canal from one end to the other. Nobody else has been able to do this. He has added glory to India. We have now the names of other Indians who have won the glory of crossing the English Channel. They are Avinas Sarang, Bijoy Jain, Taranath Shenoy, Sailesh Khilji, Arati Pradhan, Anita Sood and Rajiv Gadgil. Shenoy of Bombay is deaf and dumb. He is the first handicapped person to have the honour of crossing the English Channel. Arati Pradhan, a fourteen-year old school girl of Thane in Maharastra, has got this honour. Anita Sood of Maharastra swam across the English Channel in record time of 8 hours and 15 minutes. Prior to this she was successful in Marathon swimming between Capon and Naples in Italy. She shattered the 13 year old world record.
Bula Chowdhury whose name has been mentioned in this paragraph and Abhijit Rao, a student of class DC have also crossed the English Channel. Abhijit is the youngest of them all. He has also successfully swam 81 Kilometer race on the Bhagirathi arranged by Murshidabab Swimming Association of West Bengal. Sanjiban Mandal, father of four children has stood first successively for three years in this long distance swimming competiton.
We are all proud of these swimmers, specially of the three girls. The 44th National Aquatic Championship was held in October, 1988 at Subhas Sarobor in Calcutta. Swimmers, men and women, who did well were Bula Chowdhury (formerly of Bengal and now of Bihar, as she is now an employee of TISCO at Jamshedpur in Bihar), Lorraine Verghees of Karnataka, Sonali Rege and Pallavi Shetty of Maharastra, Urmilla Chettry and Mun Mun Dey Chowdhury of West Bengal, Mani Kankana of Haryana, Olympian Khajan Singh of the Police, Milind Soman of the Railways, Gaurav Kapoor and P. Sanal Kumar of Maharastra.
A Wonder Child of Swimming
A little child named Akash Mukherjee, grandson of Barid Mukherjee of Dhakuria, Calcutta-31 now about four years old, swims across the Dhakuria Lake of Calcutta. Nobody has taught him how to swim. At the age of two years six months, he first competed with boys of six years age group in the Beliaghata Swimming pool in the 50 metre race and stood third. He is really a genius. He is expected to cross the English Channel before he is ten years old.
A Unique Marathon Swim
Eight brave young members of the Tata Steel Company under the leadership of Nirmal Pandey, did an outstanding job in completing a marathon swim along the Ganga from Haridwar to Calcutta. They finished the swim of 2,300 Kilometres at 11.45 a.m. at the Man of War Jetty in Calcutta on Saturday, 10th November, 1990, starting on September 1, 1990 and finishing in 70 days. This expedition was the first of its kind in India. The swimmers had undergone training under Miss Bachendri Pal, who had earned by climbing the top of Mount Everest, now an employee of the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO).
Swimming is a good exercise. Swimming in the morning or in the evening or in a hot day is very pleasant. It improves our health, because the arms and legs are well exercised. Bathing in the sea is very good for health. Many people go to Puri, Waltair, Digha and other places on the seashore. They take bath in the sea-water. They swim in the sea. It is a great tonic. In England, there are many famous places for sea-bath. Hundreds of men and women flock there during holidays. It we can swim well, we can travel in a boat or steamer without fear. If the boat sinks, we can save our lives by swimming. Many people cannot swim. Hence some of them are drowned. We can also save the lives of others if we can swim well. Everyone ought to learn swimming. It may help us in many ways.