One of the most appreciated compliments received by any athlete is from one’s own peers. The Class of 2018 honorees in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame represent the largest group of individuals to be inducted in a single year over the institution’s history.
Each one of this year’s inductees are not only remarkable athletes who have completed incredible feats in the open water, but they are also exceptional humans who lead inspirational lives on dryland. Some have achieved greatness in competitive events, some in solo channel crossings, some in unprecedented marathon swims. While their greatest swims are publicly well-known, it is the relentless dedication and numerous hours they put in hard, solitary training year after year that enable them to complete their swims in lakes, river, seas and oceans around the world.
The honorees are selected annually by a vote of their peers who include Nick Adams, Tamara Bruce, Penny Dean, Yuko Matsuzaki, David O’Brien, Skip Storch, Valerio Valli, Forrest Nelson, David Barra, Dr. Osama Ahmed Momtaz, Michael P. Read, MBE, Peter Bales, Elizabeth Fry, Marcella MacDonald, DPM, Captain Tim Johnson, Vojislav Mijić, Ricardo Ratto, Dr. Jane Katz, Valerie Parsons, Lynn Blouin, Kathrin Lammers, Sally Minty-Gravett, MBE, Evan Morrison, Philip Rush, Dan Simonelli, Ben Barham, Penny Palfrey, Carol Sing, Natalya Pankina, Petar Stoychev, Silvia Dalotto, Stéphane Lecat, Kevin Murphy, Greg Streppel, Peter van Vooren, Jacques Tuset, Attila Mányoki, and John York.
The Class of 2018 includes honoring an Indian software engineer, the 31-year-old open water swimmer from Maharashtra who has completed six Oceans Seven channels and a circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island between 2014 and 2016 as well as a 35 km Gateway of India in 7 hours 29 minutes at the raw age of 11.
More has completed the following Oceans Seven crossings and marathon swims:
*English Channel in 2014 in 13 hours 13 minutes
*Catalina Channel in 2014 in 10 hours 17 minutes
*Molokai Channel in 2014 in 17 hours 28 minutes
*Tsugaru Channel in 2015 in 10 hours 37 minutes
*North Channel in 2015 in 12 hours 46 minutes
*Strait of Gibraltar in 2016 in 3 hours 56 minutes
*Dharamtar to Gateway of India to crossing in India in 1996 in 7 hours 29 minutes at the age of 11
*Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 7 hours 43 minutes in 2015
More talked about his career to date:
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How does it feel to be inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame – even as you are still involved in the sport?
Rohan More: Amazing, no words, feel proud, totally speechless. Everything is like a dream. Getting your name in International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame is the biggest honor for me.
And my country. I just can’t express it in the words. It is truly a special moment of my life. Again as I always say, this is not only my achievement, My family and friends always helped me in achieving this big dream .Thank you very much to all of you for being with me always during my hard times. You guys made my journey simple and always helped me in achieving my dreams.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was the most satisfying swim of your career?
Rohan More: After swimming for hours and hours, through day and night, fighting against strong currents, without fearing sea creatures, feeling immense cold in your body; at the same time, your body starts complaining and you wants to give up but at the same your mind says that live your dream, make it happen and you continue swimming and finally reach the shore. I feel satisfied as all those sacrifices, hard work and dedication helped me in achieving this glory.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was the toughest swim of your career?
But indeed it’s your inner strength and amount of training you did for swimming; it will only help you in crossing it. We always say that sea knows how much you have trained. There are no shortcuts to achieve your goals.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you describe your first swims in India when you were only 11 years old?
Rohan More: Well, I did that all because of my mother and my maternal uncle (Mama).
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your earliest memory of swimming?
Rohan More: I still remember those days. I was so scared of water. My mom used to take me my swim classes. And I always used to run away from pool with my coach and lifeguards running behind me. I was four years old at that time.
My mother took tremendous efforts for me to cross that channel. She use to take my training, used to give me body massages when I was tired after my training. I still remember I used to get very afraid to swim in dark while training, so just to make me comfortable, she used to walk along the poolside for all those hours while I was swimming. What else I can say other than this, a true mother’s.
My uncle’s (Mama) passion towards sport and dedication always helped me in achieving this glory. I have always learned all the lessons about sports from him. He always helped me and guided me in all the situations. And always stood with me whenever I needed the support.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you get from that earliest memory to your greatest success?
Rohan More: This journey was very long and it was always my dream to swim the English Channel. I did my first open water crossings when I was 10. But after that with my studies and job, swimming was left behind. It took me 18 long years to achieve my dream. And that was very special one for me.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What that your greatest success in the sport?
Rohan More: Yes, I feel it was conquering the English Channel. Because it was not that easy for me as I had already left swimming for almost 9-10 years. In January 2014, I decided to swim the Channel and started training. I faced so many difficulties and injuries during those days. Finally in July 2014, I crossed the English Channel.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What great memories do you have of your coaches, teammates and events in the sport?
Rohan More: Firstly, during my English Channel training, I had injury in my lat muscles, so I was undergoing massage therapy. And it was so painful; I used to scream aloud and the guy used to smile back at me.
Secondly, my mom used to take my trainings when I did my first crossing. Just to make me feel better, she used to walk along pool side making me more comfortable while I swam. I used to look at her during every stroke that I was taking. Thirdly, training with swimmates and especially during the night training with no lights in the pool; just getting the feel of night in the open water was always memorable. Cold water training in the North channel was very brutal. My teammates helped me a lot with getting used to it.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you describe your typical weekly schedule, including your swimming workouts, your work and your dryland training?
Rohan More: It’s boring when I am not training for any channel or not taking up any new challenge, just wake up, get ready for office, office work, then come back, watch TV, eat and sleep – and life goes on likewise. But the excitement of swimming across any channel makes the best routine: Get up early, do your swim training, eat proper diet, manage your office work properly, go for hill runs in the evenings. It feels like life is back on the track
Typically, I train five days in a week. I train for three days, take a one-day break, and then train for another two days, and take a one-day break again. This helps in me with better recovery. I do swim training in early morning. After that, I get some rest and go to the office.
Then, after office hours, I do the basic yoga exercises for muscle relaxation. During those two days of rest during the week, I prefer to go for easy hill runs rather than taking a complete rest.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your favorite place to swim, anywhere in the world?
Rohan More: Ahhh…it is Camlough Lake in Newry, Ireland. It was not only place where I just train, but also here I have lot of memories and feelings associated with this place. I made lot friends. It always felt like I am with my family here where I experienced the most beautiful moments in my swim career, I enjoyed every bit of it with David, Martina, Milo, Pádraig; they are all lovely people.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Where do you normally train?
Rohan More: Normally, I do the pool training only. But before any channel crossing, I go to that place well before my tide date to get acclimatized to the cold and weather as I live in India. Here in India, we don’t have that much cold water to train in.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What most concerns or worries you during your training or swims at any level?
Rohan More: It is always cold water. I was never worried about rough seas, long distances, or even sharks. But cold water always used to make me worry. In our part of the world [in India], we don’t have much cold so I never had that experience. So I was little scared about hypothermia.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are your favorite foods and drinks to take during your swims?
Rohan More: Ummm, a question of taste. I feel so hungry while swimming, I can go and eat anything available on boat.
But my favorites while swimming include having chocolates, bread, jam, and bananas and for drinks, if I feel cold, I take coffee and nothing else. Those carb drinks makes me seasick.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What are some of the most beautiful beaches that you have seen, anywhere in the world?
Rohan More: Most beautiful one was the beach at Tarifa, Spain. What a lovely beach it is! After that, I like Lanikai Beach on Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. Then, Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro, Los Angeles where I used to train with dolphins, and Downings beach in Ireland is very good place to train with jellyfish.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What future swims, if any, are you thinking about?
I would like to say thank you very much to selection committee of the IMSHOF for inducting my name as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What advice do you have for young swimmers?
Rohan More: My advice to them is always keep dreaming. Dreams do come true if you stay true to them. And there are no shortcuts to achieve your dreams. You will always need to work hard to get there. And always try to keep yourself open to learn. Never stop learning.
It was quite a year for More. On August 29th, India’s National Sports day, the Honourable President of India Ram Nath Kovind presented More with the prestigious Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2016-2017 in the Water Adventure Category.
The Tenzing Norgay Award is awarded by the Indian Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, conferred by President Ram Nath Kovind at a ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official home of the president of India in New Delhi.
“I would like to dedicate this award to my dear Mama ji Pralhad Madhav Sawant, my mother Vijaya, and my father Dattatrey More. You always stand with me in all the situations. I was honored to received the India’s highest award in sports, but as I always say this not just my efforts, [but due to] all my friends and family members [who] helped me to reach this level. My journey will be always incomplete without you.”
He was also recognized by the World Open Water Swimming Association as one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2017 – a designation that he will undoubtedly continue to live up to.
“What Rohan does in mind-boggling,” commented Steven Munatones. “To live year-round in a warm, humid part of the world and to train in a pool, and then to successfully cross cold-water channels like the English Channel and North Channel, and manage turbulent channels like the Molokai Channel and the Tsugaru Channel is beyond my imagination. At the same time he has every reason to be unsuccessful, he has an inner drive that compels him to greatness and does not allow for a DNF. What goes through his mind and his heart during his swims is magical and beyond inspirational.”
“Rohan and the other new members of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame emulate those exceptional 269 forerunners already enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Since the class of 1963, our marathon swimming inductees from around the world have received the ultimate marathon swimming recognition. They have been immortalized with their names inscribed on the IMSHOF Sea Goddess, our ‘symbol of the sea’,” explained Chairman Christopher Guesdon.
“When Captain Matthew Webb RN conquered the English Channel in 1875 nobody would have thought such a worldwide movement of marathon swimming would be born and where ethics and morals are paramount in pursuit of a successful marathon. The induction ceremony will be held on March 31st 2018 at The Chapel, Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor, UK.”
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