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Mihir Sen – First Indian Long Distance Swimmer who Conquered the Seven Seas


Mihir Sen

Quick Facts

  • Name: Mihir Sen
  • Field: Swimmer, Entrepreneur
  • Also known As: Long Distance Indian Swimmer, First Asian to Swim the English Channel
  • Birth Date: 16 November 1930
  • Died On: 11 June 1997
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Place: Purulia, West Bengal
  • Spouse: Bella Weingarten Sen
  • Awards: Padma Shri (1959), Padma Bhushan (1967), Blitz Nehru Trophy (1967)


Mihir Sen was the greatest long distance Indian swimmer. He is the First Asian to swim the English Channel in 1958. Mihir was the first swimmer who swims and crossed the Palk Straits in 1966. He was the first man who crossed various continents water bodies by swimming. He was a lawyer by profession. He crossed every obstacle in his way. He was the first Indian swimmer to swim in 5 different continents across 5 different seas in 1 year. He was best known as the long distance Indian swimmer.

Mihir Sen – First Asian to Swim the English Channel

Early Life of Mihir Sen

Mihir Sen was born in Bengali Brahmins family on 16th November 1930 in Purulia west Bengal. He was born in a poor middle class. He was one of the eminent swimmers of India. His father name was Ramesh Sen Gupta and mother’s name was Lilabati Sen Gupta. His father was a doctor. Mihir grew up in the different cities of Bihar and Orissa. When he was 8 years old, his family moved to Cuttack, Orissa as there were better schools. From his childhood, he wanted to complete his studies from the England. He completed his Law degree from the Utkal University. The chief minister of Orissa helped him to complete his higher education from the England. In 1950, he was given one way ticket with some money by the chief minister Biju Patnaik.

Indian Swimmer Mihir Sen with Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Image Source)


Mihir started his career in England as a member of the bar. He also worked with an Indian Agency. He had plenty of time to further study at night. His career in swimming started when he read an article about Female swimmer of America. She swam across the English Channel in 1950. He was highly motivated with the lady and decided to do similar like her.

Mihir started training in England at the YMCA. He practiced really hard to become a good swimmer. His dedication towards learning swimming made his all teachers to love him from the bottom of their heart. He was very famous in all of his colleagues at the bar. He attempts many times to cross the English Channel. Finally in 1958, he was swim across the English Channel. He becomes the first Asian to swim the English Channel. He was much appreciated.

He gained fame in the whole world by swimming the English Channel. He crossed the English Channel in just 14 hours and 45 minutes. He swam across the 5 different continents. In 1966, he started swimming between India and Sri Lanka i.e. across the Palk Strait. Also, he crossed the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco in August and became the first Asian who crossed the Straits of Gibraltar. He took 8 hour and 1 minute to cover this. Again, he became the world’s first man to swim 40-mile length across the Strait of Dardanelles in 13 hours and 55 minutes in the month of September. Consecutively, he also became the first Indian to swim the Bosphorus in 4 hours and the first Non-American to swim 50-mile length across the entire Panama Canal in 34 hours and 15 minutes in the same year.

READ ALSO:  The English Channel Conqueror – Hear Out the Journey of Arati Saha, the First Indian Woman to Cross the English Channel
Image Source

Awards and Achievements

In 1956, Mihir was awarded the Padma Shri Award. In 1967, he was honored with the Padma Bhushan by the Indira Gandhi as the highest civilian. In the same year, he won the Blitz Nehru Trophy for conquering the seven seas of the world.

Mihir Sen – First Asian who Crossed the Straits of Gibraltar

In the later stage of his life, Mihir suffered from the Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Due to which, his career ended and he died at the age of 66 In the year 1997. Mihir did many things in his life. He attempted many expeditions in the world. He was also a Successful Businessman. His company was the 2nd largest exporter of Silk. His financial situation got unstable. He lost everything in the end. His name was also mentioned in the Guinness book of world records.

Mihir Sen – World’s First Man to Swim Across the Strait of Dardanelles

Mihir Sen was very hard working and was among the eminent swimmers of India. He was the long distance Indian swimmer and was the First Asian to swim the English Channel. He impressed the whole world by his amazing work. Mihir was the 1st man who swims in 5 different continents across 5 different seas in a year. He was highly motivating and inspiring person. There are many people on this earth, who are still talking about his courage and passion. He was a true hero of India.


Written By: Arju Sharma


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