Less than a year after she crossed the English Channel, Amrita Das has trained her eyes on swimming the 34-km-long stretch from Catalina Island to Palos Verdes in the US.
The 23-year-old, who swam the English Channel in September last year in 13 hours and 42 minutes, said that a successful campaign would make her the second women from India after Bula Chowdhury to cross the Catalina.
Talking to PTI before leaving for the US on Saturday, Amrita said the Catalina Channel is second only to the English Channel in terms of the hazards involved.
"The stretch between Catalina Island and Palos Verdes is filled with sharks, jelly fishes and strong currents. It's very tough like that of the English Channel, but I'm confident of swimming it," Amrita said.
The long-distance swimmer, however, is cautious as she does not want to repeat what she did during the English Channel expedition.
"I swam for 7.5 hours in the English Channel but only to be in the same place as I had veered off the course because of the strong currents. That meant an addition of 7.5 hours to my timing," she recalled.
"I was inexperienced that time. I will look to avoid such a thing to finish with a good timing. The experience of English Channel will definitely help," a confident Amrita said.
Amrita, an understudy to Masudur Rahman Baidya, the first double amputee below the knee to cross the English Channel, however, refused to set a target time for the Catalina Channel.
The dates of her voyage will be finalised by the authorities there, depending on the weather conditions, but Amrita said they have asked her to be ready between August 20-25.
On her preparation, Amrita said, "Besides the regular swimming practice here, I was training in the Puri sea for a week. I'm mostly on a liquid diet to get myself ready."
Pursuing masters from the Vidyasagar University, Amrita will be accompanied by father Ashoke Kumar to the US mission.
A resident of Amherst Street in north Kolkata, Amrita took to long-distance swimming after she finished fourth in the 81-km Murshidabad swimming competition in the Bhagirathi river in 2007.
"I was fourth overall, but stood first among the girls, something that inspired me to attempt the English Channel last year. I hope there is many more to come," she signed off.