Arati Saha was born in 1940, and learnt to swim in the Hooghly river in Calcutta as a child. At the age of eight, she competed in the National Championship in Bombay, winning silver and bronze medals. When she was eleven years and ten months, she was selected as one of the first four women to represent independent India at the Helsinki Summer Olympics of 1952. She was the youngest Indian Olympian—a record that stands till this day.
By the time she was eighteen, Arati was looking for a fresh challenge—she decided to swim the English Channel. This marathon endurance swim had been completed by others before her, but no woman from India, indeed from Asia, had done so yet. Arati trained in the lakes and pools of Calcutta, once swimming for sixteen hours at a stretch. Overcoming many odds, she went to England where, undaunted by one failed attempt, she tried again—till she was successful.
This is the inspiring story of how a seemingly ordinary girl set her eyes on impossible dreams and achieved them with her incredible hard work and talent. In the process, she swam her way into history.