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Swimming guru Umesh Kalghatgi

Photo of author

A good running gold smith business at home, a joint family of five brothers but he had something in him which always haunted his mind. He liked cricket a lot as a kid and played in many tournaments. But when he learnt swimming at the Kapileshwar Talav just near to where he resided, his life was ready to take a new huge wave. He wasn’t very good in swimming either that he could excel and win laurels but he loved the sport and now trains from a 6 month old to a 70 year old senior citizen. He has trained the physically challenged and abled to an extent that, they now stand on their own feet making their parents feel proud of them.

UmeshWe are glad to introduce to you Umesh Kalghatgi, a man with a vision for a healthy society. He loves water and he also loves to train people to swim which is life saving as well.
He completed his initial schooling from Govt. School No.11 (opp Tarun Bharat), then High School from Benyon Smith and then his Bachelors of Commerce from Gogte College.
Umesh says,” When I saw Raghvendra I was not sure whether this boy could ever swim, but when he in 6 days he learnt to float, I was sure I have found a gem and he has proven it.”.
Umesh told the blog that whatever he is today is because of the support he has got from his numerous friends and colleagues. He says, “I should take this opportunity to thank Sudhir Kusane, Prasad Tendolkar, Anandeshwar Patil, Kallapa Patil, Suryakant Hindalgekar, Santosh Sarode, Indrajeet Halgekar, Anil Kulkarni, Harshad Patravali, Madhukar Bagewadi, Neelkanthrao Jagdale, S R Sindia are few who I need to make a mention of who have always supported me and my cause.”

Today July 27, 2011 happens to be the THIRD anniversary of his team crossing the English Channel.

Umesh speaks out more about his life and swimming-
How did it all start about coaching and training people to swim?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> After learning swimming in 1980, he joined the Swimmers club Belgaum. I was not so very good at the races but he loved to teach others to swim. I used to come to the pool daily and help others learn swimming. I then coached the college team where the team won many laurels, where I thought this could be a great opportunity to train the upcoming talent.
I then got books on swimming from USA and started coaching the kids in more scientific manner. In 1993 his father expired and I was bent upon thinking of the underprivileged who could not afford to learn swimming for the want of money.

How did you start the coaching of Children with special need?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> I thought, why not train the Children with special needs and hence he started with Rajesh Shinde and two more children. I then had a Luna TFR on which I used to get the kids to the pool train them and again leave them home. I also arranged for their costumes. But things did not work as we wished and there was a gap in the training.
In 2000, the association of physically handicapped, Smt. Shakutai Paranjape & Dr.Pavaskar approached him with the proposal of training a few of their children from the association. I took this as a challenge and Raghvendra Anvekar (Eklayava Awardee) and 6 others joined in for the training.

Sri Sri RaviShankar honored Umesh with his own Shwal


Share some experiences of training the Children with special needs & the annual camp you hold?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> In 2002 there was the annual swimming competition on a all India level at Gwalior, where Raghvendra’s entry was a last minute entry and he won 5 gold medals.
After the event and a grand welcome to Raghvendra Anvekar, I was asked to train more children. And I decided that I will coach 20 students in the month of February. Next year he added another 20 students who were orphans and did a 21 days coaching camp for them in which all the facilities like transport, costumes, food were taken care of. This was a great success and this year we coached 160+ students which included mentally challenged, physically challenged, blind, deaf & dumb and orphans as well.
I remember when I had approached the mentally challenged school where in I told the parents to send their children for the camp and all the parents were very skeptical about their children participating. I need to mention about Atish Jadhav who won a gold at the recently held special Olympics World Summer Games games at Athens (Greece). When Atish came to me he could not even stand on his won. But once he started training him he picked up well and in a competition in Mumbai when Atish won his first medal his parents said that, our child has got a re birth. Atish parents who used to say that people used to taunt them, but Atish has made them proud and now each one looks at them with pride. This is what is needed, all have a power within themselves we need to get it out and shape it.

Tell us more about the English Channel expedition?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> In 2003 I was made the team manager of the Physically challenged team of India and in Hong Kong they won laurels. On the way back the air hostess asked us what were these medals, when we told we won at the competition, the pilot made an announcement in the plane and all clapped for us. This was a great moment for us. The pilot then called each one of us in the cockpit. It was a never to forget experience. And it was there only that I had decided that Rajesh Shinde and Raghvendra Anvekar will try to cross the English Channel.
The English Channel challenge was the biggest for me and permission was rejected for 3 times but in 2008 we were lucky and we got the permission. Then as a part of the preparations we decided that both guys will swim in Belgaum for more than 10 hours. So on 19 March it was clear day, but when we started the non stop swim at 8 pm thunder storms poured in, and I knew God was making it tough. But all went well and they completed the challenge.

After Rajesh Shinde completed the English Channel

We needed about 20 lakhs to go to UK, and people like Suresh Hundre, Avinash Potdar , Tata, L&T and even employees of Polyhydron gave ones days salary and we were able to collect 20 lakhs. During this time the children who were training got their piggy banks and gave it to me saying use the money so that you can go to UK.
Rajesh Shinde was able to cross the English Channel in 14 hours and 46 mins and that was the biggest achievement for me. How ever Raghvendra could not complete the challenge and had to be brought out of the cold water where is condition was very critical.

How has been the support family/others?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> My family has supported me from day one, no one complained why are you doing this or in that manner. My parents were also very supportive. Now my wife Malvika is my biggest support where she takes care of my kids Jui and Jay and I spend most of the time on the pool side.

Group Photo
Umesh with his Family, Jui, his wife Malvika and his son Jay.

I would also like to mention these great names who have supported me Dr. R. J.Galgali (Rtd. Dean, Banaras Hindu university), Shri Suresh Hundre, Rtn Avinash Potdar (dist governor 3170), Smt.Anjani Desai (Arjuna awardee), Smt. Maneck Kapadia, Smt. Lata Kittur, Shri Prasanna Ghotage, Dr. M D Dixit, Shri Praveen & Rajiv Doddannavar, Shri Deepak Gojgekar, Rtn Basavraj Vibhuti & all my colleagues & parents of all the kids who sent their children to me.

What are your future plans?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> All the things in my life have happened without planing in detail, but now I believe that I should plan for the future. I would like to build a hostel for the specially abled & physically challenged from all categories and I would give them training and create some international swimmers.
I would be continuing with my coaching camp for the special children as I feel they need more care and attention and by doing so if they can stand on their own feet, there is no bound to that happiness.
I would also ask all schools to have small pools where swimming is made compulsory as this is a life saving sport and some day you could save someones life at the same time this is a very good exercise for the entire body.
I have recently floated LEAD a NGO which will help physically & mentally challenged children to stand on their feet by giving them training in Swimming and other activities also.

12 03 2011 at belgaum
Mrs.Sudha Murthy along with Raghvendra Anvekar & Rajesh Shinde


Your thoughts on the importance of Sports in life?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> Each and every one in life should give importance to sports in life. The young children especially should be allowed to play any game they like but they should play some outdoor game which has physical activity. Just playing with Play Stations is of no use.
Sports increases the endurance level of a child and also builds in more confidence. People who have participated in sports in any form develop a strong will and strong mind which can absorb shocks in life to a better extent.

What is your mantra to Success?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> My mantra to success would be to be on the ground, be as modest as possible. You may have tasted success but always be ready to fail and realize that its never bad to fail. One should be like Sachin Tendulkar, always on the ground. Even if you do some charity keep it upto you only and dont make a media event of it.

What is that you do to relax your self?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> Walking relaxes me and I often go on walks on the Savgaon road. I also take along my family and do a sort of picnic away from the city in some natures paradise.

Your thoughts on Belgaum?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> About Belgaum, this is a wonderful place cant explain in words. The city is multi cultured and all people join you when you are doing something good, you dont have to approach them, they themselves come and help you in all that you need. This is also a educated city and a educational hub as well, but we havent had so many outstanding sports persons in ratio to the population. The bureaucrats should keep their ego’s away and work for a better Belgaum.

Importance of swimming in life, your thoughts?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> Swimming also helps in de-addiction and I have trained so many people who were smokers/ drug addicts who after training under me have left all that and now lead a healthy life.
Swimming is also a healing technique, take the example of Moin Junnedi, who had 200+ fractures since birth and had brittle bones. Even if some one touched him he would have had a fracture. I trained him to swim and now he can swim on his own and now his fractures have declined.

When people come to swim even the elders become a child and enjoy the water, thats the most fascinating fact about swimming. I love water and I believe each one should be like water, water never knows of what age are you or which caste, it just gives you the same pleasure each time you enter the pool. A 21 days training program can change ones life and yes some day this swimming knowledge could also be a life saver for someone.

What is that you want the society to do to encourage sports in life?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> The current Rotary corporation sports academy at Govaves where I spend most of my time also has a skating rink, a baby pool, Dance classes and also chess training. In a city like Belgaum more such types of academies should be started so that the younger generation can be properly molded and they in turn will make this country “Mera Bharat Mahan” in true terms.

Your thoughts on this website?
Umesh Kalghatgi ——–> About this site, this is a great thing for the people of Belgaum especially the ones who are away from here, all just click and they get the news about Belgaum. I wish this site a great success where one day each one of us will click this site daily.

DSC 1162
Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam meeting Umesh along with Momin


Your Favorites:
Favorite Eating place- Himalaya near Radio Complex, simple and tasty
Favorite Area– Savagaon road, the area is really green all the year round and very calm.
Favorite Person– Dr.A P J Abdul Kalam, I dont know but by just seeing at him you get an inspiration.

11 thoughts on “Swimming guru Umesh Kalghatgi”

  1. Dear Kalghatgi,
    Excellent work. I agree with your concept on small pools in BGM. That is the biggest drawback. There aren't any public well maintained swimming pools. As part of P.E in schools there should be compulsary 1 day swimming lessons either funded through private fees or subsidised through government (as I agree maintaining a pool is costly business, cholrination, recirculation , life guards, shower facilties, water bills, cleanliness and maintenance)
    Can awareness be raised on more pools for public in BGM. Some will say my need of a pool, rivers, wells are enough. But these are unsafe.
    How can I help your NGO? I can sponsor 10 hour lesson for a deserving candidate or sponsor swimwear. Please let me know.
    Best Regards,

  2. Dear Umesh

    I salute and honour your commitments for the society beyond personal social commitments, You are one upper hand to this society , It Shows Dronachayrays are still born in India and happy to have a Belgaumite like you

  3. Well what can I say about Umesh whom I have know for such a long time. He is the one who taught my daughter Tanvi Doddanavar float in the water & since then there was no looking back for her. He has been a great inspiration to all the swimmers not only in Belgaum but outside too. Last but not the least Umesh is a GOOD HUMAN BEING. God bless him always 🙂

  4. Dear Sir,
    I Miss.Natasha Ajgaonkar, proud student of you,congratulate you for all the success you have got till now and also all the success you are worth getting in future.I am sure you will give your best in whatever you do, as you have been doing till date….Congratulations again and I am very proud to be your student and happy for your achievements…Lots of respect to you always…

  5. It is very easy to have great ideologies in life but to live & practice those ideologies it is very difficult. What is selfless life to know & understand that Mr. Umesh is a great inspiration. Wish him & his family the very best & a wonderful life as they deserve the same, the chosen ones.

  6. Happy Guru Purnima!
    One of the best coach and advisor of my heart.

    ur loving
    Surya Kant

  7. All the best Umesh sir I have known you since my child hood. To come to this level from from humble beginnings is indeed a great achievement and inspiration to all of us. Nice to see your pics with great personalities, but you are no less then them.


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