Murugapillai Navratnaswami

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Murugapillai Navratnaswami
Murugapillai Navratnaswami (or spelled Murugupillai Navaratnasamy) (16 February 1909 - 1 January 1969) was a swimmer from Sri Lanka who first tried to swim 32 miles across the Palk Strait on 16 March 1954 from Valvettithurai (VVT) to Point Calimere in South India a distance of 32 miles, but had to abandon his swim due to the conditions. On 25 March 1954, Navaratnasamy made his second attempt starting at Valvettithurai at 4:10 pm and reached Point Calimere in South India at about 7 pm on 26 March 1954 for a time of 26 hours 50 minutes where more than 4000 Indians had gathered to greet his finish.

Navaratnasamy was much honored and celebrated due to his swim, but he died while training to do a circumnavigation of Sri Lanka, a distance of 760 miles, in a kattumaram.

His nephew, V.S. Kumar Anandan, also completed a swim from Valvettithurai to Point Calimere in 1963 that took 42 hours and a two-way crossing in 1974 in 51 hours.

[edit] Palk Strait Crossings

1. Murugapillai Navratnaswami (or spelled Murugupillai Navaratnasamy) was the first person to swim the Palk Strait in 1954 where he took 26 hours 50 minutes to swim 32 miles from Valevettithurai (VVT) to Point Calimere on his second attempt.

2. V.S. Kumar Anandan, newphew of Murugapillai Navratnaswami, completed a swim from VVT to Point Calimere in 1963 that took 42 hours.

3. V.S. Kumar Anandan also completed a two-way crossing in 1974 in 51 hours.

4. Tanarath Narayan Shenoy crossed the Palk Strait.

5. Mihir Sen is an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer who crossed the Palk Strait in 1966 in 25 hours 44 minutes.

6. Bula Chowdhury Chakraborty, an accomplished marathon swimmer who crossed the English Channel twice, the Catalina Channel, the Strait of Gibraltar and the Cook Strait, crossed the Palk Strait in 2004 in nearly 14 hours.

7. Rajiv Trivedi is an Indian open water swimmer who crossed in 2011 between India and Sri Lanka in 12 hours 31 minutes.

8. Balasaheb Ramchandra Ghadge is an Indian open water swimmer who crossed in 2011 between India and Sri Lanka in 12 hours 31 minutes.

9. S.P. Murleedharan completed the Palk Strait between Talaimannar in Sri Lanka to Arichamunai at Danushkodi in India in 13 hours 53 minutes in 2012. "As an Indian I feel proud to cross Palk Strait from Sri Lanka to India. The conditions were extremely tough for swimming. The sea, pleasant in the initial stage, turned very rough. It forced me to swim against the strong wind and choppy sea."

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