47-year old Shyamala Goli of Telangana Swims across Palk Strait, proves Age is Just a Number

They say, with age comes wisdom, but also comes hardships. While weakening health starts to show signs for most, the focus often goes on chalking our Retirement and Investment plans.


On the contrary to all of this, 47-year old Shyamala Goli of Telangana defied all the barriers of aging and stereotypes linked with it. She debunked all such notions as she swam across the 30 KM stretch of Palk Strait (Ram Setu) within the clocked time of 13 hours and 47 minutes. She is now the second Indian woman to swim across the Palk Strait, breaking Bula Choudhury’s record.


Palk Strait on Indian map

PIC CREDIT: Google Images


Shyamala claimed that she had planned to swim across the stretch last year, but had to cancel her plan due to the pandemic and the successive lockdown that followed. Likewise, she was denied permission just before her expedition. This year, she again toiled to get permissions for which her coach and senior IPS Officer, Rajiv Trivedi helped.

Once all her permissions were sanctioned, she decided to name her expedition, ‘INDIA-SRI LANKA Friendship Swimming’. Shyamala started her 30 KM expedition, from Thalaimannar, Sri Lanka to Dhanuskhodi, India.


Ironically, Shmala’s interest in swimming wasn’t something that came naturally to her. In fact, she says she was aqua-phobic until 2016. A creative director by profession, she owned an animation business, which she had to shut down a while ago. The losses led to depression and stress, for which she decided to counter them by learning to swim.

Her journey began from a summer camp pool. With her belief in physical activities relieving stress, she stated, “I still remember how jittery I was when I began swimming for the first time. but now I am madly in love with water”.


It was an article in an English channel that triggered her to do something like this. But she only received criticisms from people, who commented that she shouldn’t think about the International waters at this age and stay limited to state-level events only.

And as a challenge, to counter all this, she decided to do the Inevitable.

Along with courage and dedication, indeed, it wouldn’t have been a success, if she hadn’t had the help of her trainer Rajiv Trivedi, who made her capable enough to achieve this feat. Trivedi himself swam across Palk Strait, the English Channel, and Gibraltar.


Shyamala started her training from small pools around Telangana, where her previous coach Ayush Yadav, head coach of Sports Authority of Telangana trained her for pool events.


Shamala Goli, 47 defies age barriers as she swims across Palk Strait

PIC CREDIT: Google Images


Shyamala also represented India at FINA, World master Championship held in South Korea.

Shyamala Goli had only 4 years of swimming experience, along with a basic homemade diet and basic coaching. She was in the zeal of attaining her goal and didn’t care what her critics/cynics had to say.

She stated, “Age is just a number that increases every year like date changes on a calendar. We need a goal, dedication and focus to prosper”.

“Women have many responsibilities while juggling between family and work, but she still needs to sacrifice some in order to achieve her goals!”




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