Twenty-one-year-old swimmer Sayani Das from West Bengal made the whole nation proud on Sunday when she swam across 33 kilometres of the Catalina Channel in the US in a duration of 12 hours and 46 minutes. Sayani, who has already crossed the English Channel and the Rottnest Channel is delighted with her third significant conquest.
After two successful stints at open water swimming, Sayani had no intention to stop any further. In June 2019, she kept her foot at the Catalina Channel in North America. It is a 33km long swim between Santa Catalina Island and Southern California.
Born in the Kalna town of West Bengal, Sayani started her journey as a swimmer when she was just six years old. Gaining experience through swimming across different ponds in her village, in only five months, Sayani swam for 10 kilometres in the Ganges. So far, she has won multiple accolades in the state and national championships in India.
Sayani considers herself as a face for women in India and believes that through swimming, she can make her country proud. In Kalna, Sayani can often be spotted giving motivational speeches to girls and women.
In 2017, she and her team took the first of the seven oceans challenge. Before she could swim across the English Channel, she used to practice for 12-13 hours, often the entire night amid chilly winters. Despite such preparations, no one was willing to sponsor Sayani for such a big event. Even the government refused to provide her with any help. So, Sayani’s father, Mr Radheshyam Das, mortgaged their house for funds. It was the first big swim of her life, which she successfully completed in 14 hours and 08 minutes. And that was when Sayani decided to cross the seven seas.
In 2018, Sayani decided to take on the challenge of the Rottnest Channel. It is a 19.7-kilometre swim from Cottesloe Beach through Gage Roads to Rottnest Island, off the coast of Western Australia, near Perth. She successfully completed the swim in 6 hours and 42 minutes.
This was the first time she came to limelight as a 20-year-old teenage sensation. The government of West Bengal also appreciated her on her efforts.
It was sheer grit and courage that helped her inch closer to her dreams. And after completing these three channels, she now aims to cross Gibraltar and hopes for government or corporate house fundings for her future expeditions.