Sufyan Shaikh, an 18-year-old marathon swimmer from India, gave us a first-hand report on the 81K National Open Water Swimming Competition annually organized by the Murshidabad Swimming Association August in Behrampur, West Bengal, India.
His report is from the 2004 race.
The 81K (50-mile) race is held on the river Bhagirathi, in addition to a 19K race, attracting 65 swimmers from India and Bangladesh.
"It took me 11 hours and 40 minutes when I was tenth out of 27 total swimmers. Before this event, I had never swum this long and it was a test for me to see if I was capable to swim the English Channel which was my later goal [editor's note: accomplished in 2006 in 12 hours]. The race was also dangerous as [there were] 25 whirlpools in the water. The race was long and very tiring. I still remember that after finishing, I was not able to raise my hands due to the continuous [strokes] that I had been doing for more than 11 hours."
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