Indian open water swimmer Bhakti Sharma, on Tuesday, set a world record by swimming 1.4 miles in 52 minutes in 1°C (34 °F) in the Antarctic Ocean. In the process, Bhakti Sharma became the first Asian woman and the youngest in the world to achieve this feat. The 25-year old open water swimmer broke the record of American swimmer Lynne Cox and British swimmer Lewis Pugh.
Speaking weather-wise, this is the best time to make a record-breaking attempt in the Antarctic waters. Bhakti Sharma and her team could not have attempted such a record-breaking stint a month before or after. This is because currently the Southern Hemisphere is having summers with the sun settled in the southernmost part of the planet. But, even with a temperature of 1°C, it is extremely difficult to find long stretches of free flowing water in the region as water generally freezes over even during this time. One can spot blocks of ice floating in free flowing water. But despite all this, Bhakti Sharma managed to execute the record swim.
Bhakti Sharma had her first open water swim when she was 14 years old. Born in Mumbai and brought up in Udaipur, Bhakti Sharma holds a Master's degree in Communications Management. Sharma is also the youngest swimmer in the world and the first swimmer from Asia to have conquered all five oceans. Moreover, Sharma has swam in or across eight other sea and channels. She was awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2012 and was also nominated for the 2014 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year title.
Bhakti Sharma's passion for swimming has helped her enter existing record books and create new records altogether. It is hard to believe that only a few years back, Bhakti Sharma had lost all hope due to lack of funds and resources. However, the timely support from Hindustan Zinc allowed Sharma to chase down her dreams and bring laurels to the country. Here's hoping that the success story of Bhakti Sharma will inspire several others to pursue their dream.