Syamala Goli Crosses The Palk Strait

Syamala Goli Crosses The Palk Strait

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

47-year-old Syamala Goli from Telangana, India completed a 30 km cross-border crossing of the Palk Strait between Talaimannar in Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi in India on March 19th.

Goli started to learn how to swim in 2016 and was inspired by an article about the English Channel. “This is my first long distance open water solo adventure. I am not a swimmer from childhood. I just started learning how to swim only four years ago. My own journey went through some very tough stages from aquaphobia. Now I am in deep love with water. 

We have no awareness on swimming in [my area] (Telugu states in India). I came from a very small farmer’s family with a lot of struggles with money. We had no chances to go out and do something after a marriage in our families.”

In a rare feat of perseverance and ability, Goli increased her maximum swimming distances from 0 km to 10 km in only one month, all without any coach or any assistance. She admits, “I am not perfect in the freestyle stroke and I am still looking how to train better.”

She set her goals high. The 30 km Palk Strait between Sri Lanka and India is the most renowned channel in her area that she completed in 13 hours 43 minutes. “Now, I can swim 30 to 40 km in a pool as well as in the open water.  I have no proper guidance on training, diet, or workouts. Just running, swimming and light warm-ups are in my daily activities. I eat homemade food like, boiled eggs, rice, curd, etc., it is my simple diet.  We have very very little encouragement in India, but I was the first person to participated in FINA World Masters Swimming Championship open water event from India in 2019. I feel proud to represent our nation in the FINA World Masters.”

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