India, a nation known for its cultural heritage and diverse population, has also been home to an extraordinary talent pool. Over the years, a new generation of talented Indian swimmers has emerged, showcasing their talent, determination, remarkable performance, and achievements at national and international levels. These athletes not only broke records but also paved the path for a bright future in swimming.
Talking about the best Indian swimmers, one name that always highlights is Virdhawal Khade. But there are several female swimmers as well who have shown their potential and represented India at the international level. One of the greatest Indian female swimmers who became the first Asian woman to swim across the English Channel is Arati Saha. Besides these two, India has produced several swimmers, a few of them are listed below.
Through this blog, you will dive into the inspiring stories of the best Indian Swimmers who have made a presence in the aquatic sports world with their exceptional performance. Let’s start without further ado!
Best Indian Swimmers And Their Achievements
Swimming became a part of the Olympics games in 1896. Initially, the event hosted male swimmers only; women’s events were introduced in 1912. The first Indian swimmer who qualified for the Olympics was Sajan Prakash. The Olympics is not the only event, but Indian swimmers have also marked their presence in myriad international events. Let’s look at the famous swimming players of India and their achievements.
Shamsher was a member of the Indian Army and participated in the Indo-China War in 1962 and the Indo-Pak War in 1971. He is one of the most famous swimming players in India, who marked his presence in the swimming pool and the army both. Shamsher represented India in the Summer Olympics in 1956. Prior to this, he made a national record in the 200-meter butterfly event in 1954. In the year 1955, Shamsher broke the national record at the national meet in Bangalore. Khan retired in 1973 after all his achievements as an army personnel and swimmer.
Participate/Achievements- 200m swim at Butterfly Event
2. Arati Saha
Another great swimmer of early India, Arati Saha, was a long-distance swimmer. Born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1940, she started swimming at four. Later in 1959, Saha became the first Asian woman to appear on the English Channel. After knowing her potential, she never looked back and continued achieving more in her career. She is one of the Indian swimmers to be conferred with the Padma Shri Award in 1960. Her swimming journey inspires and encourages several females to achieve their goals in sports and beyond.
- 22 State-level competitions in West Bengal
- Represented India at the 1952 Summer Olympics
3. Bhakti Sharma
Bhakti Sharma is an open-water swimmer and the youngest woman to set a record in open swimming in Antarctic water, making herself one of the few Indian swimmers to achieve the feat. She swam 2.3 km in 41 mins and 14 secs in freezing water at the temperature of 1℃. She swam in the world’s five Oceans and eight other channels and seas.
- Broke the record of Lynne Cox (USA) and Lewis Pugh (Great Britain)
- Awarded with Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award.
4. Virdhawal Khade
To mention Indian swimmers male, Virdhawal Khade is known as the best modern swimmer. Born in Maharashtra, Virdhawal Khade walked milestones to achieve a career in swimming. With his talent and best performance, he always surprised the audience and marked several awards in his name. He emerged as a shining star and represented India in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, competing in the men’s 50m, 100m, and 200m freestyle swimming events.
- Arjuna Award in 2011
- Olympic Medal in 2010
5. Shikha Tandon
Born in 1985, Shikha Tondon is a champion Indian swimmer. She is one of the Indian swimmers to qualify for two separate events in the Olympic Competition. One of the biggest achievements of her career is qualifying for 50m and 100m freestyle events in the Olympics competition. Shikha is one of the most talented and famous swimming players in India, inspiring the upcoming generation to achieve bigger goals and anchor their names in International sports.
- 5 Gold Medals
- Arjuna Awardee
- 146 National and 36 International awards
6. Sandeep Sejwal
If we talk about the national level swimmers in India, Sandeep Sejwal wears the crown. Born in 1989, he is among the Indian swimmers who are the National-record holder in the 50m, 100m, and 200m backstroke events. With such awards, Sandeep Sejwal made the nation proud.
- Silver medal holder in Asian Indoor Games
- Bronze medal in 50m breaststroke in the 2014 Asian Games
- Qualified for 100m and 200m breaststroke events in the 2010 Olympics
7. Sajan Prakash
Sajan Prakash is known as the Michael Phelps of India because of his rapid swimming. He always overwhelmed his fans with his moves and explosive swimming tricks. One of the memorable moments for him was when he represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 200m butterfly race. Not only this, he has been named several awards and qualified for many significant events.
- Won 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze in the Asian Age Group at Tashkent in 2017
- Won 6 Gold and 3 Silver medals in the 2015 National Games Kerala
8. Rehan Jehangir Poncha
A specialist in breaststroke and butterfly, Rehan Jehangir Poncha is among the top-level Indian swimmers. A stunning swimmer who won several events with his stunning performances, Rehan has also been a member of the relay team, creating a national record in the 2009 Foshan Asian Games. He is one of the Indian swimmers who encourage youth to stick to their goals and keep working hard to accomplish them.
- 5 times National Champion
- 6 times National Record holder
- Arjuna award
- Dronacharya Award
9. Anshul Kothari
Among the famous swimming players in India, Anshul Kothari is the most unique one. He was born with a flat foot condition and was advised to undergo surgery, but his parents took a bold step by making him a participant in physical activities. He proved himself and marked various awards to his name. He is also regarded as one of the national-level swimmers in India.
- Won medals for national-level tournaments
- Gold & Silver at South Asian Games and Asian age group Championship
- Awarded the coveted Sardar Patel Award and Junior Eklavya Award
10. Nisha Millet
The last on the list of Indian swimmers is Nisha Millet. She is an open or adventurous swimmer and swam across all five mighty oceans. She is also named as the first woman to set a record in the Antarctic Ocean by breaking the record of Lynne Cox & Lewis Pugh. She is regarded as one of the most famous swimming players in India because of her breathtaking swimming skills.
- Represented India at Sydney Olympics in 2000
- Won medal at the Asian Age Group Championship, Hongkong
- Awarded with Arjuna Award, Rajyotsava, and Karnataka State Eklavya Award
Indian Swimmers are making a splash on the international stage, breaking records, earning awards, and inspiring the nation. While athletes like Virdhawal Khade and Sajan Prakash, Indian swimmers lead the way in the aspiring generation of athletes poised for greater achievements for years to come. The upcoming generation of Indian swimmers can make the nation proud on global stages and make a mark in the records of international sports.
Shamsher Khan is regarded as the best male swimmer in India, as he holds the national award in the 200th butterfly category.
Sachin Nag won the first gold medal in swimming for India at the Asian Games in men’s 100-free style.
Summer McIntosh from Canada is considered the No. 1 swimmer in the world. At 14, McIntosh swam 4:05 hours. 13 on May 27, 2021, PB and the new Canadian Age Group Record.
Michael Phelps can swim 20om freestyle in approximately 1.42 minutes, which means 4.7 mph or 7.6 km/h.
Being tall is not the only attribute that needs to swim fast. Height somewhere matters to swim fast or win, but shorter people can swim fast if they have the potential.