Post milestone, ultra marathon swimmer Sucheta Deb Burman eyes further landmarks

With her body being constantly tested, she finally decided to abort the return leg around seven kms from the finish line in Dhanushkodi due to shoulder pain.

Published: 27th March 2022 08:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2022 08:25 AM   |  A+A-

Sucheta Deb Burman

Sucheta Deb Burman (Photo| Special Arrangement)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Ultra marathon swimmer Sucheta Deb Burman had her eyes fixed on the planned record of a two-way swim across the Palk Strait from Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka on Wednesday morning.

But things did not go according to plan right from the initial stages. Just half an hour into the water, she felt a tad uncomfortable. The Tripura-born lady was stung by sea weeds and other unknown elements in the water.

In fact, they had zoomed in on Wednesday and Thursday (March 23, 24) as the perfect twin days for the swim after a lot of research and expert opinions but the weather proved to be a huge challenge.The high tide made matters more complicated.

With her body being constantly tested, she finally decided to abort the return leg around seven kms from the finish line in Dhanushkodi due to shoulder pain.

However, she did create a landmark by swimming across the Palk Strait from Dhanuskodi to Talaimannar (distance of 34 kms) in ten hours and nine minutes on Wednesday. "The objective was to do a two-way nonstop, but fell a little short," said Burman.

"There were sea weeds and jellyfishes. It stung all over my body. You can't see, but I swam for two hours with that. I got out of that and then again I was caught in a very high tide. The waves were crushing my back, pushing me down into the water. It was just the unfavourable conditions. It was unsuitable for any swimmer to be under water at that time," she adds.

The 38-year-old might have been disappointed, but one needs to understand that open water swimming is a different ball game altogether. The challenges are multiple compared to a normal dip inside the controlled environment of the swimming pool.

"It is not as easy as people think - for translating from the pool to the open water. There is always fear that something unknown might be under the water. Open water is much bigger. Like in a river, it flows downstream, you do not know the current. It is risky and dangerous too. You can never venture out alone. Any great swimmer can also be pulled into the current. When in sea, you will not even see the land," she said.

However, despite coming close to achieving a major feat, Burman wants to test herself further but understands that she needs to work more on a lot of things before testing other tough swims. "In the coming years, I am looking at the toughest 13 swims. It is a combination of Amazon, Congo, cold water swim, endless sea swims and so on. I want to do something to really test myself. I also want to go around with the message of saving the environment," she adds.


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