The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bula crosses Catalina Channel

Calcutta: Bula Chowdhury just will not give up. Just the other day she crossed the Toroneus Gulf in Greece, and Wednesday she became the first Asian swimmer to cross the Catalina Channel in the US — ten hours and 23 minutes, across 34 km, from the Catalina Island to the shores of Manhattan Beach.

And that was despite her injuring her left hand in the attempt. “It must have been those rocks I had to negotiate,” Bula told The Telegraph over phone from Los Angeles, “and I must have torn a tendon or two in my hand. It’s hurts a lot and I will now have to see a doctor.” That she completed the swim despite this is a commentary on her determination.

Her husband-coach Sanjib Chakraborty informed the weather wasn’t really to their liking. “There was a spot when she had to wait till seals passed,” he said, “and there was this current area where I could barely move ahead,” added the excited Bula.

This crossing brings Bula closer to her dream of having crossed all “seven seas”, and today she matches the feat of Mihir Sen, a super distance swimmer of yore. Taranath Shenoy, the deaf and dumb swimming sensation, has been the only Indian to have swum this.

Bula holds the 16-year old national record in women’s 100m butterfly event, had earlier become the first Asian woman to cross the English Channel twice in 1989 and 1999.

In 2000, she created the women’s world record by covering the 20 km Gibraltar Straight from Spain to Morrocco in 3.35 hours. Last year, she successfully swam the Tyrrhenian sea in Italy.

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