x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE expat swimmer's English Channel dream

R Ratheesh Kumar, a lifeguard based in Dubai, hopes to swim the Channel next summer.

A swimmer nicknamed the Dolphin will swim the English Channel with his limbs bound.
A swimmer nicknamed the Dolphin will swim the English Channel with his limbs bound.

DUBAI // An Indian lifeguard nicknamed "the dolphin" for his unique style of swimming is hoping to fulfil his dream of swimming the English Channel.

R Ratheesh Kumar, from Cheriyazheekal village in southern India's Kerala state, will start work this month as a supervisor for lifeguards with the Dubai facilities company Emrill Services.

"I have loved dolphins and the sea since childhood and it has always been my goal to swim like a dolphin in the English Channel," said Mr Kumar, 31. "I practise daily for three to four hours. My employer has said they will help me practise and train and then I can fulfil my life's big challenge of swimming across the Channel."

Mr Kumar's hands and feet are bound with elastic gauze bandages when he swims. He has set a personal record of swimming 3km in the Arabian Sea in 44 minutes.

His goal is to swim the 34km of the Channel in 15 hours. He plans to make his attempt in August next year with the support of his employer.

"We will provide all the help we can for him to achieve his goals," said an Emrill spokeswoman.

The high winds and strong currents of the Channel, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, makes it a popular challenge for swimmers who attempt the demanding route between Britain and France.

rtalwar@thenational.ae