The IAF Swimming Team Becomes the First in the World to Swim the English Channel Twice

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Within eight days of having crossed the English Channel successfully and becoming the fastest Asian Relay Team ever, the IAF’s Swimming Team ‘Delphinus’ on 05 Jul 2012, crossed the English Channel once again, not just successfully but also beating its previous record set on 26 Jun 2012.

Having successfully crossed the English Channel on 26 Jun 2012, in 12 hours 14 minutes breaking the previous Asian record in this category (Relay), the IAF’s Swimming Team successfully crossed the English Channel once again on 05 Jul 2012 clocking 11 hours 25 minutes beating its own record.

On the 05 Jul 12, the team entered waters at 0200h GMT from Shakespeare Beach, Dover, England and finished at 1325h at Cap Gris Nez, France clocking 11 hours and 25 minutes. This makes ‘Delphinus’, the first team in the world, in this category (Relay), to have swum twice in the same year and that too in the first tide (which is considered the toughest). The team also retains the title for the fastest Asian Relay Team by breaking its own record set on 26 Jun 12.

Led by Wing Commander Paramvir Singh and three other members – Flight Lieutenant Narayanpethkar, Corporal AK Patel and Corporal S Srihari, the team is the first ever Armed Forces Team from India to swim the English Channel. The team is also competing for the ‘Endurance Trophy’ which would be announced by November 2012 as the Channel Crossing is open till September 2012.

The Channel Crossing in a Relay Team Work has higher timings than the Solo Crossings. This is because the team member on a change-over has to acclimatise to the tough (cold and rough sea) conditions before getting the correct body rhythm to continue with the swim. Most teams are unable to complete the crossing in a relay format because, either one or more members are unable to continue the swim till the minimum time permitted before the next member can replace them. The difficulties a swimmer encounters range from the strong tide winds, particularly near the French coast (at this time) with a sea temperatures of about 10-13 degrees celcius and an undercurrent of 10 mph, besides English Channel also being the world’s busiest Shipping Lane.

The team arrived in India on 08 Jul 2012 and were welcomed by the IAF and their family members. The team will be Flagged-In at a later date after completing the arrival formalities.

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