609 in 2015 and later

648 past in 2015 (updated 17-07-'15)

Swim Bangla Channel


I was not confident about getting permission when I sent first email to Mr. Musa Ibrahim of Everest Academy, Dhaka for Sapanna’s Solo Bangla Channel Swim, as no man has ever swum on this route Solo style. Musa was more than happy to organize solo event especially for us. Then I silently proposed.. “can we make it double !! “

17-year-old swimmer from Pune, Sampanna Shelar, on March 30, swam to and fro from St Martin's Island to Teknaf Jetty in Bangladesh. He completed the 32.2km-long expedition (St Martin's Island to Teknaf Jetty to St Martin's Island) in nine hours and 10 minutes.  As per the Swim Bangla Channel Authority, Sampanna is the first swimmer in the world to achieve this feat. Earlier, several swimmers had completed the distance one-way, but had not attempted to swim two-way.

Sampanna started his challenge at 5.40 am on March 30 and initially gained good speed. However, after 5km, he couldn’t continue his pace. Strong winds posed as a hindrance to the swimmer.  He literally struggled to complete his half way, particularly, in last hour he could managed to swim only 1.2 Kms. He touched Teknaf Jetty in exact 5 hrs thus his schedule was delayed by one and a half hours.  On his return journey, he maintained a consistent speed and finished the expedition relatively easily.

“It was sigh of relief, when I touched the shore’” Sampanna revealed  “I had see saw swim. I have done four Solos and many Races but never was as tough as this one” Young man was also afraid ““This was my first expedition in international waters and I had seen many big fishes in fish market and cant stop thinking of their presence during swim. I was a little worried and asked my coach to keep a boat near me at all times.”  “Later, the strong winds and high tide proved tough to face and left me exhausted. I was determined to finish the expedition and jumped back in the water and managed to finish the distance,” said Sampanna.

Sampanna is Class 11 student at Sinhagad College and trains at Shark Aquatic Club in Pune. He is a National-level swimmer in the short-distance format. He is now aiming to win a title in the 81km long-distance swimming competition to be held in Bhagirathi River in West Bengal later this year. His elder sister Nidhi Shelar is also a long-distance swimmer and holds several records.

Musa Ibrahim, the first man from Bangladesh to climb Mount Everest organized this swim. He has been conducting 16.1. Kms race every year. His excellent organization made the stay & swim enjoyable. “Sampanna’s Double Swim gave us a new prospective” Musa explained. His dream is to take Bangla Channel Swim to new height. “I’m already seeing many foreign swimmers in Bangla water, I’m ready to cater anyone now “he added.

I personally wish & hope to have Ocean7 Asia as we have nice & warm water here and we can start it from Bangla Channel Swim.

Jitendra Khasnis