15-Year-Old Mitali Khanzode Completes Swim Between Italy and Sicily


Water World Swim, the world leader in open water swimming, today announced Mitali Khanzode, a 15-year-old girl native to Sunnyvale, Calif., has successfully completed the swim of the Messina Strait. The 3.5Km (2.1 miles) aquatic traverse between the island of Sicily and mainland Italy took place on Sunday, 18 June, 2017, beginning around 8:50am local time, and took her 1 hour and 20 minutes while she faced rain, wind and challenging currents.

“Completing this swim was a dream of mine that has not yet completely set in. I’ve loved being an open water swimming and this was an incredible opportunity to take on my first international open water event,” said Khanzode. “The best part of this swim was landing! I felt this immediate rush of exhilaration knowing that I set a world record.”

Khanzode began her open water swimming career in San Francisco Bay at the age of 9 years old. Her parents, originally from Nagpur, India, encouraged her to take up the sport that they cannot do themselves. Her swim was led by open water swim legend Pedro Ordenes of Water World Swim, a Mill Valley resident who has completed nearly 1,000 crossings from Alcatraz to San Francisco, in addition to long distance open water swims of the Strait of Magellan and the English Channel. Mitali was also assisted in the water by Water World Swim assistant coach Andrea Vuturo of San Francisco. The swim was piloted by Water World Swim Italia coaches Giovanni Fiannacca and Pat Tomada.

“I have been coaching Mitali since her very first swim in open water in the San Francisco Bay, and once again today, she made me proud,” said Coach Pedro. “After so many Alcatraz swims, expanding to international competitions and crossings is a huge milestone in her future both in and out of the water. The entire team worldwide is very proud of her.”

Five other Water World Swim members also challenged Scylla and Charybdis, the legendary Greek gods of the Messina deeps: Dominic Gallello of Los Altos Hills, Calif., Carola Khouri and her daughter Annika Khouri of Portola Valley, Calif., John Newberry of Surrey, UK, and Ricardo Arenas of Ecuador. Water World Swim made a donation for each swimmer to L’Aquilone Onlus, an Italian organization that introduces the love of the water to children with disabilities.

Khanzode just completed her freshman year at Basis Independent Silicon Valley in San Jose; she will spend the next few days touring Rome before returning to the U.S. on Wednesday, June 21. Please contact Water World Swim to arrange for interviews.

About Water World Swim

Water World Swim is the universal expert on open water swimming. With nearly 30 years’ experience tackling the biggest aquatic challenges on Earth, Water World Swim has helped unite the world through swimming by successfully guiding excursions across the San Francisco Bay, English Channel, the Strait of Magellan, the Bonifacio Channel and more. Lead by Head Coach Pedro Ordenes, who has completed more than than 900 Alcatraz crossings, Water World Swim provides a safe, guided, and fun environment for swimmers of all levels to uncover a lifelong and life-affirming love for the planet’s most exotic natural pools. For more information, please visit www.waterworldswim.com.

Press release courtesy of Water World Swim


  1. Dick Beaver

    Pippo Nicosia e certo???????

  2. avatar
    Gary Emich

    Youngest swimmer is an alternate fact. 11-year old Tancrede Roy of Boston did it last year. Don’t know why Pedro has to stretch the truth.

    • avatar

      Actually, Tancrede’s swim was not officially confirmed by FINA. Mitali had absolutely no one touch her, and followed all of FINA’s rules and regulations, thus Tancrede’s swim did not technically count.

  3. avatar
    Gary Emich

    Somewhat of an elitist response Anaya. So she was the youngest confirmed by FINA but not the youngest as claimed – it was the 10-year old back in 2006. And, unless Pedro’s nearly 1,000 Alcatraz crossings (and it’s actually closer to 600), his Strait of Magellan swim and his two-way Beagle Channel swim were confirmed by FINA then they likewise “did not technically count.” And for the record, Tancrede had no one touch him either.

    • avatar
      Denise S

      I think what this lady ,Anaya , is trying to say is one has to swim an official swim. Coach Pedro Ordenas has swam all offical swims.
      Wondering if you are related to the 11 yo boy?..just curious as you have been attacking everyone!

      • avatar
        Gary Emich

        Sorry. I’m not attacking anyone. The press release used the word “youngest.” Now the semantics have shifted to “official.” If that’s the intent I have no problem with it being an official swim. But to use the word “youngest,” in and by itself, is to disrespect and totally disregard the accomplishments of the two younger boys.

  4. avatar

    Mr. Emich, I know Pedro personally and he has done 1000 Alcatraz crossings, give or take about 10. Please do not accuse WaterWorld or Pedro of any false statements.