BENGALURU: He’s an electronic engineer by profession but swimming is his passion. Meet Srikaanth Viswanathan, the 49-year-old who learnt swimming when he was 33 years old. He nurtured his dream, braved the icy waters in the US and completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in 2019.
The challenges have been worth it as he has now been selected by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Government of India for the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2020. The award will be conferred by the President Ram Nath Kovind on November 13 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.
Speaking to CE, Viswanathan says, “The award is the highest national recognition for achievements in the field of adventure on land, sea and air.
While this award is given out in August every year, due to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the Ministry decided to postpone it.” He has been selected under the ‘Water Category’, based on his accomplishments of swimming in the English Channel, Catalina Channel and Manhattan 20 Bridges Swim over the last three years. Being the only one from Karnataka to be selected, Viswanathan says, “Bengaluru has been home for me and my family for the last 22 years. I learnt how to swim here as well. I am hopeful that the Karnataka government will take note of this achievement as well.”
While fitness has always been a major part of his routine, staying fit during the pandemic wasn’t easy. “Maintaining an overall fitness is very important for any endurance sport. During the pandemic, while I could do dryland exercises for strength training and cardio, actual swimming in pools was not possible
due to the lockdown. It was a big struggle to even perform 50 per cent of my workout when pools opened,” he says, adding he’s still working on getting back his old endurance levels.
Nevertheless, he’s already training for his next big goal — the Ocean Seven Swim, which requires swimming in the seven toughest channels across different oceans in the world. “I have completed two so far and have signed up with channels like Cook Strait and North Channel Swims which I will pursue in the years,” he says.
While he had to postpone his trips owing to Covid restrictions, he looks forward to travelling to New Delhi to receive the award from the President. “I am a big believer of dreaming big and passionately going after it. Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine this. All I wanted to do was to perfect my swim so that I can enjoy swimming for long hours. Other accolades and recognitions are side effects of following my passion,” says Viswanathan.
After having braved icy cold waters during various swim meets across the world, Bengalurean Srikaanth Viswanathan will be awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2020 on November 13 by President Ram Nath Kovind