Bhakti Sharma born 30th Nov’ 1989, is an Indian Open water swimmer. List of her achievements is enough to make anyone in their mid-20s jealous. Young, Talented, go-getter, indefatigable, keen, zealous, energetic all this adjectives completely suit her. Swimming is a tough job, it needs complete dedication and commitment. Splashing water, floating for the sake of pleasure and actually imbibing this field as an career are surely two different things. This particular sport is surely not meant for the lazy buns, and it takes a lot of hard work, strength and a physically fit body to stretch the ways by cutting the water bodies.
Born in Mumbai, she started swimming at a really young age of 2 and a half years since her mom Leena Sharma, was also a Swimmer. And yes she is highly qualified, with a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Udaipur and a master’s degree from Symbiosis University in Communications Management.
Bhakti has been pursuing open water swimming for the last 10 years. She has now conquered all the five oceans in the World. At the age of 14, she swam her first swim in the Sea, which was a 16 km swim from Ukran port to Gateway of India in 2003. She also shares a World record with her mother for being the first mother-daughter pair to swim across the English Channel.
And now comes this record of being only the third person in the world to have swum in the Arctic Ocean and recently in the Antarctic Ocean a distance of 2.28 km for 41.14 minutes at 1 degree temperature, making her the youngest person to do so and the First Asian too. So this makes all us Indian proud of her, her career in just a little over 10 years is commendable.
The 26-year old, while talking to one of the newspapers quoted about her initial years speaks about her first state level competition where she had finished last. And added, in spite of that what mattered more for her at that age was finishing it rather than winning. Being young and new to the game, She knew she needed to give the sport some time so that she completely learns all the skills and techniques and work on her flaws.
To swim for three to four hours can be physically and mentally exhausting, and that’s what she finds most challenging with the open water swimming. 14 year old Sharma, had already won a couple of national championships in the CBSE National Level competitions, with a number of State championships. While trying to keep up with the speed, she gradually also started increasing her resistance to low temperatures. One evening while practicing, her mother promptly asked if She was interested to swim across English Channel, referring to it as a cold, long distance swim in the sea, and she enthusiastically nodded. Not knowing much about what she was engaging into, it was only this spontaneity of hers which got her glory.
“Don’t give up when you are hardest hit. Rest if you must but do not quit.”
Those are the lines, which bhakti remembered when she was completely exhausted after swimming in the Antarctic Ocean after the initial 5 minutes. She said it was becoming increasing difficult to pull through each stroke, but this lines kept her motivated. And the feeling which she got after achieving her target distance was one of the most blissful moments of her life she said during the interview. It was not the happiness of having made a world record, but the feeling of pure satisfaction that her dream of swimming in the Antarctica had been fulfilled.
Bhakti had followed a strict regime for the whole course of time which included at least two to three hours of swimming daily, very specific diet and some ground exercises, plus some Meditation for keeping her mind cool, composed and training her mind for the complex conditions. She feels that the coaching scenario in the field of swimming needs an improvement in the smaller cities of all the States.
Open water Swimming has been an Olympic sport since 2008 and Bhakti wishes to represent India in this sport and win a medal. Now thats’ what i call a GOAL 😀
All you folks there, I just want to tell you, if you got something you are very passionate about, and you know you can perform exceptionally well in it by getting yourself trained for some time, then irrespective of any situation, you must follow your heart and keep doing that. Not a single day , You’d feel tired ‘coz at the end of the day you will be doing what you love, which will always keep you on the edge of the seat. Follow you passion, Listen to your Heart, Stay Blessed 🙂