10 Aug 2004Madhu Nagaraja
Madhu, from India, swam the Channel in 12 hour 31 minutes
Madhu is one of those that gives back to the sport of Marathon Swimming, and has sadly 'got the bug' and keeps doing long swims and other challenges. He currently lives in Canada and is planning a Lake Ontario swim. He is always on hand to help others.
A thoroughly decent gentleman!
It Ain't About Swimming
Well, it is and it isn’t, but, in saying that, we might be getting ahead of ourselves.
In July or August of 2012, Madhu Nagaraja, who hails from Oakville, Canada, will lower himself into the midnight-blue waters of LakeOntario and start swimming. If all goes well, he won’t stop until he gets to the other side. In case the magnitude of this affair is not yet apparent, Madhu will swim 51.6 kilometers across one of North America’s Great Lakes in what he estimates will take 20 hours.
Madhu’s strong arms are buoyed by a wealth of sport experience. The swimmer’s athletic journey began in Mysore, India, where he grew up, went to school, and swam. As an undergraduate and graduate student of the University of Mysore, he earned swimming scholarships.
After graduate school at the University of Mysore, Madhu immigrated to the United States to pursue a graduate degree in computer science and has, since then, lived in either the U.S. or Canada. In his time in North America, he’s put his swimming passion to use in endurance-swimming events, with many of them occurring in the San Francisco and San PabloBays, the water surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area.
For instance, he, apparently, enjoys swimming between AlcatrazIsland and mainland San Francisco, because he’s done it a notable 23 times! He has also swum the length of the Golden GateBridge, between the Golden Gate and San MateoBridges, and between the Golden Gate and BayBridges. We’re talking about miles of swimming in these events.
In 2004, Madhu went real big when he swam across the English Channel in 12 hours and 31 minutes. An English Channel swim is, by all accounts, epic because it is 23 miles long and features the creatures that inhabit the open ocean, waves, cold water, and boats. And we can’t forget the physical challenge of swimming for that length of time!
Madhu says that his family keeps him afloat. While it might be kosher to call Madhu’s wife, Suman, his rock on dry land, we should probably avoid this metaphor because the guy is about to swim a very long way. Says Madhu, Suman helps him make key decisions when it comes to training for and doing these events. Madhu also says Suman’s stellar cooking keeps him well fueled. His two children, Vivek and Meghna, and his parents, Suseela and Nagaraja, all keep him grounded to the rest of life, including family, professional work, and social time.
Finally, the people with whom Madhu shares these adventures inspire him. In his fellow competitors, he admires their ability to push themselves toward their outer limits and he appreciates the bonds that form when people are together pushing themselves toward a common goal.
When Madhu leaves one edge of LakeOntario and heads for the other this summer, he’s surely starting with the goal of finishing. But an endeavor like this isn’t entirely about the end goal of swimming a large body of water. It’s also about soaking up the natural beauty found in the Earth’s wild, wet places. It’s about physical challenge. It’s about sharing the experience (and, perhaps, suffering) with others. And, it’s about using the journey to be a better husband, father, and friend. It ain’t all about the swimming.
Written by:Meghan Hicks