Kutral Ramesh (born 8 November 1981), popularly known as Kutraleeswaran, is an Indian swimmer.
Born and raised in Tamil Nadu, Ramesh went on to become a marathon swimmer. He swam across English Channel in 1994 when he was 13 years old. The same year, he swam across 6 channels to break Mihir Sen's record of swimming across 5 channels in a calendar year. Kutral's name was included in Guinness Book of World Records for this feat. Kutral won the Arjuna Award in 1996.
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Kutral was born in Erode, Tamil Nadu. He was born to Ramesh, an advocate at Madras High Court and his wife Sivakami, a home maker. His family moved to Chennai when he was 1 month old. Kutral did his schooling in DAV, Gopalapuram, Chennai, holds an engineering degree from College of Engineering, Guindy at Chennai, masters from University of Texas at Dallas, and pursuing MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
He began his swimming at the age of 7. His first attempt at the district level swimming contest. It is called the "Ribbon Meet". The reason it is called a ribbon meet is because the top 6 out of the 8 district level finalists get a ribbon. In that contest he got sixth position and a ribbon. He took part in many district & state-level contests. At the age of 10, he took part in 5 km swimming competition in the sea. Though youngest participant, he managed to get fourth place and this event turned to be stepping stone in his swimming career in 1991.
English Channel swim (1994)
In 1994, his next swimming expedition was to surpass Mihir Sen's record of completing five channels in a calendar year and unbroken for over 30 years.
He first swam across the Palk Strait, which lies between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka by end of April 1994. After completing Palk, with help of Tamil Nadu state government, he crossed the English Channel on 15 August 1994.
After setting the record, He started taking part in competitions all over the world. Between 1995 and 1998, he was the only participant from Asia of the 25 swimmers selected across the world for the World Series in Swimming. He represented India in over 6 competitions around the Globe and won medals for India, which includes the 1st prize in Switzerland. He was awarded Arjuna Award by the Indian Government for bringing laurels to the country and for the Guinness Record in 1996.
Kutraleeswaran, the youngest Arjuna Award winner. He received the Arjuna award in 1996.