ALAPPUZHA: When Jewel Mariam Basil embarked on her first swim outside a pool, little did the seven-year-old fully comprehend the scale of her potential achievement. By the end of it all, she is set to write her name into the book of Guinness World Records. Her parents, on the other hand, always believed their daughter’s love for swimming could be channelled into something special.
“Jewel was always interested in swimming, and along with her coach (Biju Thankappan), we were looking to try and find ways for her to express herself. Recently, we came to know that no one of the age of seven has ever attempted a four-km swim in a lake. So we decided to try it, and she is delighted to have done something like this,” said her father, Basil Varghese.
On Saturday, Jewel began the swim at 8am from Thavanakadavu in Cherthala. Flanked by two boats and coast guard officers, she swam for an hour and 53 minutes, and reached the Kolothumkadavu market in Vaikom where she was received with warm applause. “Swimming in the lake is easier,” Jewel told her parents. It has been just a year since she began taking swimming lessons.
The record needs to be ratified by Guinness World Records but Jewel’s family believes this could spur her to maximise her talent. “It was remarkable she showed no fear though she was swimming in a lake for the first time. Maybe it was her age but we believe she can take swimming seriously,” added Basil, a faculty with the Mar Athanasius College in Kothamangalam. Her mother, Anjali, works with the Mar Athanasius International School.
A Class II student of the Vidya Vikas School, Jewel has an older brother who in fact was among her inspirations to get into the pool. “Both of them started swimming around the same time. But we could see the amount of effort Jewel was putting in. The coach too has played a huge part in honing her talent and helping her achieve something that would be truly remarkable, and would stay with her and empower her,” opined Basil. Few can boast of having a world record to their name at the age of seven. For Jewel, this could just be a start.