Home girl youngest Asian to complete swimming expedition

Varada Dharmadhikari
Varada Dharmadhikari of the city has become the youngest Asian to complete an Atlantic expedition in South Africa covering 18 km in an open sea solo swim conducted by Cape Long Distance Swimming Association (CLDSA). The 16-year-old science student of Wadia College completed the swim in 7 hours 15 minutes on Monday.

She is the second Asian to have completed the solo expedition. Within a span of a week, she participated in two solo expeditions and one competition.

Talking to The Indian Express, Dr Vinay Sitaram Dharmadhikari, Varada's father said, "My daughter participated in South Africa Open Sea Swimming Competition and Solo Events on Invitation by CLDSA, South Africa. She was accompanied by her mother Varsha and coach Jitendra Khasnis. We are overwhelmed by the success of the expedition."

Varada, who has been coaching under Khasnis for the past four years, has participated in a number of regional swimming championships and expeditions, including those held in Mumbai, Gujarat, Ratnagiri and West Bengal. This was her first international expedition.

"On February 22, in the first solo event, she swam from Robben Island to Three Anchor Bay in 3 hours 12 minutes 13 seconds when water temperature was 13 degrees Celsius becoming the youngest and the fastest Asian to have completed the expedition. This was followed by Around the Rocks, a competition that involved over 100 participants from across the globe in the junior female category and Varada finished the 2.5 km competition in 41 minutes," said Dharmadhikari.

"My swimmer Varada Dharmadhikari successfully swam across 10 km Robben Island to Three Anchor Bay in 13-14C in 3.12 hrs. It was an awesome swim. She was smiling all the time... Bravo Varada," her coach Khasnis posted on one a social networking sites. "The second solo expedition, Dog's Leg from Three Anchor Bay to Robben Island to Bloubegre was on Monday wherein she set a record of being the second and the youngest Asian to have completed the expedition," added Dharmadhikari.

Varada will return to the city on March 7.

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