Mihir Sen

Mihir Sen was an ace Indian long-distance swimmer. His courageous feats in the enormous seas have inspired the aspiring Indian swimmers to indulge in long distance swimming, thus motivated the youngsters to take up swimming as their profession. Born on 16 November 1930, in Purulia, West Bengal, Mihir Sen was a lawyer by profession. He was a trendsetter, whose performance in the high seas opened the floodgates for other Indian swimmers to excel in long-distance swimming. Before he breathed his last on 11 June 1997, he won both national and international accolade for his excellence in the swimming sport.

Recognition & Awards

On 27 September 1958, Mihir Sen attained world-wide fame by becoming the first Asian to swim the English Channel. He crossed the Channel in a record time of 14 hours and 45 minutes. The year 1966 proved to be a watershed for Sen, as he swam across the seven seas of the five continents in one calendar year. In April 1966, he went on to mark his presence at the international stage, by braving high tides and shark-infested waters and swimming across the Palk Strait, the sea between India and Sri Lanka.

In August in the same year, he became the first Asian crossed the Straits of Gibraltar between Spain and Morocco, within a record time of 8 hour and 1 minute. In September, he set a world record by becoming world’s first man to swim the Strait of Dardanelles. In the same calendar year, Sen also swam across the Strait of Bosphorus and the Panama Canal. For his marvelous performance in long-distance swimming, Sen was conferred with the much coveted Padma Shri award in 1959. He was honored with one of the highly prestigious civilian awards in India – the Padma Bhushan – by the Government of India in 1967.


  • First Asian to swim the English channel, from Dover to Calais.
  • Padma Shri Award in 1959.
  • Padma Bhushan Award in 1967.
  • Has set up five world records in swimming.
  • Entered the Guinness Book of World Records.

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