Swimming Sets Sanket Bhirud Free, A Visionary Passion

Swimming Sets Sanket Bhirud Free, A Visionary Passion

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Indian teenager Sanket Bhirud has an intense drive and relentless determination that reminds us of a fellow open water swimmer from India: Tanarath Narayan Shenoy.

Tanarath is a blind inductee in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame who completed 3 English Channel swims, 1 Catalina Channel crossing and 1 Strait of Gibraltar conquest.

Born with virtually no sight due, Sanket did not have an easy life but his sense of independence and self-determination has served him well. After being refused membership in local swim clubs, he finally was accepted by the Aquatic Recreational Club of Nayar, Thane. “Most of them refused to even give me a chance,” recalled Sanket who became an accomplished Paralympics swimmer. “He is 95% blind [so] no one would include him in their games,” explained his mother Varsha to the Times of India. “If you want to play something, you need teammates. Or an opponent. Swimming, in a way, made him feel independent. He did not need anyone. It was just the water and him. It set him free.”

His next goal is to swim 34K from Dharmatar to Gateway in Maharastra on the west coast of India as a precursor to attempt the English Channel. “Open sea swimming is the toughest because there is no sense of direction. Every step is unexpected. After my first sea swim in 2009, I realized I could actually do it.”

Of that, we have no doubts.

Initial report by the Times of India.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones