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Monday, December 2, 2013

Aditya Santosh Raut Continues To Break Barriers

There may not be another swimmer in the world with the potential for longevity in the marathon swimming world like Aditya Santosh Raut.

The prolific marathon swimmer, born in 1993, started off in 2002 on a 70 km swim in the Indian Ocean when he completed a two-way crossing of Dharamatar Channel from Mumbai's Gate Way of India to Dharamtar and back. The 9-year-old, escorted by his coach Vinay Marathe and father Santosh Raut, took 21 hours 28 minutes to complete his first marathon swim. While there have been many other young swimmers in India who have swum marathon swimmers, Aditya is different as his career has continued and his goals have gotten progressively difficult.

With a goal to become the first swimmer from India to represent his country in the Olympics at the 10K marathon swim, Aditya has been preparing for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics by completing numerous marathon swims around the world in addition to building speed in his pool events.

At the age of 10 in 2004, Aditya completed a Robben Island swim from Three Anchor Bay to Robben Island and Blouberg, a distance of 18 km that he completed in 6 hours 42 minutes. He attempted to swim 10 km from Simanstowm to Muizenberg which he succeeded, but a second swim had to be called off due to sharks.

At the age of 11 in 2005, Aditya completed a Cook Strait crossing from the North Island to the South Island in New Zealand and the Toroneos Gulf in Greece. At 12, he completed a Catalina Channel crossing in 11 hours 55 minutes in 2006 and completed 7 swims in 7 days at the Tethys Challenge Formula 7777 event. At 13, he competed in the 26 km International Self-Transcendence Marathon Swim from Rapperswil to Zurich and 15 days later completed a Strait of Gibraltar crossing in 3 hours 28 minutes.

In 2009 at the age of 16, Aditya crossed the English Channel in 14 hours 55 minutes and then set his sights on the FINA World Championships and Olympic 10K Marathon Swim. After training all his live in Pune, Aditya is currently training in Bangalore, India where he concentrates on his education of Business Management.

His current aim to reach the FINA standard of 15:59.33 in the 1500m freestyle to represent India and ultimately to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro or the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

His father Santosh has been on nearly all of this swims. "[When Aditya was young], I wasn't nervous for his safety because I was always on his swims with coach Vinay Marathe. We were always with him," recalls Santosh.

"We studied every swim and safety was our top priority. [As a father], Aditya's safety is much more important than his swim. But he does not have the advantage of getting in cold water swims for practice. Hence, we needed to go earlier to every swim in order to get acclimated to the weather and water temperatures.

Aditya, on his first cold water swim in Cape Town, South Africa was seared due to cold water. This was the very first time he entered the cold water. In that situation, I personally entered the water with him. This gave him confidence and some tips on how to swim in the cold water. My entry in the cold water with him on that day boosted his confidence. But he has faced cold water down to 10ºC (50ºF)

The young man from Bangalore has grown and developed in ways that few humans have experienced. With his trajectory in the sport and his focus on increased speed, he may very well be India's first representative to qualify for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2015 Rio Olympic Games or the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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