Top AP cop becomes fastest man to swim across Palk Strait

Trivedi (50), Additional Director General of Police from Andhra Pradesh along with 48-year-old Balasaheb Ramchandra Ghadge, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) from Maharashtra swam across the Palk Strait from Sri Lanka to India in 12 hours and 31 minutes.

They started the 30 km long swim from Talaimannar coast at 4.00 am (IST) on March, 25 and reached Dhanushkodi, a city at the southern tip of Rameswaram island in Tamil Nadu, at 4.30 pm (IST) after swimming for 12 hours and 31 minutes non-stop.

Trivedi and Ghadge are the first police officers from India to successfully swim across the Palk Strait with Trivedi also becoming the senior-most person to swim that sea route.

Asked about the difficulties in swimming in the sea during darkness, Trivedi said, "The most difficult thing was not being able to see anything. Apart from being scary this leads to a sense of disorientation. The only point of reference remains the light of the support boat."

The danger was mostly from sharks, snakes, jellyfish and other poisonous bugs. Sometimes fishing nets, drifting debris and sea weeds also can cause serious problems, he said.

"We used an imported electronic shark repellent device which was hung from the support boat. We swam to India safely, so hopefully it worked because the Indian Ocean is full of sharks," he said.

In view of tsunami in Japan we calculated possibilities of being swept away by winds, currents and tides and made plans for survival, Trivedi said. The IPS officer had also swam across the Strait of Gibraltar in 2001. In the same year, he swam for nearly 13 hours in the freezing English Channel starting from England and reached France but could not touch land on the French Coast as he was thwarted by ocean currents.

Maharashtra police officer Balasaheb Ramchandra Ghadge, known as a veteran of long distance sea swimming, had earlier swam in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai and had crossed the Strait of Gibraltar five times – once with Trivedi.

For his outstanding swimming ventures he was awarded the Chhatrapati Shivaji Award by Maharashtra government in 2008. The support team consisting of Ganesh Ghadge, inspectors Rambabu and Kiran Kumar and constable Srinivas, accompanied the swimmers on two fishing boats and the expedition was observed by M Vijay Kumar, an official of Swimming Federation of India.

The Sri Lankan navy guided the swimmers in the Sri Lankan waters and the role was taken over by the Indian Coast Guard once the duo crossed International Maritime Boundary Line. Trivedi, who is working in AP Police Academy dedicated his venture to state police force and said his wife and sons were also good swimmers and athletes and a tremendous source of strength for him.

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