First Indian man to cross English Channel
Mihir Sen was the first Indian man to swim English Channel. He achieved this feat on September 27, 1958, when he crossed the Channel in 14 hours and 45 minutes. In the process, Mihir Sen also became the first Asian to swim the English Channel.
Mihir Sen was born on November 16, 1930, in Purulia, West Bengal. His father was a doctor in Cuttack. He went to England to study law but was attracted towards swimming. After achieving the feat of swimming across English Channel, Mihir Sen went on to achieve several other milestones. In the year 1966, Mihir Sen swam across the seven seas of the five continents. In April 1966, braving high tides and shark-infested waters, he swam across the Palk Straits, the sea between India and Sri Lanka. In August, he crossed the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco and one month later became the world's first man to swim the Straits of Dardanelles. In the same year Mihir Sen also swam across the Bosphorus and the Panama Canal.
Mihir Sen was awarded the Padma Shri in 1959 and Padma Bhushan in 1967.