Akram Konari, from the town of Omidieh in Khuzestan province, south-west of Iran, has swum for 175 minutes, i.e., two hours and 55 minutes, with her hands tied in memory of 175 Iranian divers who had been martyred in the war in the same way.
She is trying to have the record registered in the Guinness Book of World Records in six months’ time. She has dedicated her record to Iranian frogmen martyred during the eight-year Iraqi imposed war on Iran in the 1980s, with their hands tied.
She had her hands tied behind her back before she started swimming, though her friends could have tied her hands in front, which would have made it easier to swim.
However, she says she wanted her hands tied at her back because “that’s how our young divers were martyred.”
She says swimming runs in her family.
“I clearly remember the first time that I saw a pool,” she says.
“When got into the water and the instructor began to swing me, I felt I had the world by the tail. It was inconceivable to me how one can be scared of water,” she adds.
“I had already experienced gymnastics and several other sports, by swimming was what I was really looking for, and I had just found it,” she says.
“I felt as if all my dreams had come true,” she notes.
Our instructor Ms. Milani felt the I was gifted when it comes to swimming. So, she would take me to competitions and she would motivate me.
“Because of getting married and my day-to-day business, I somehow lost touch with swimming. After a pause, I started again in 2017, but I had no idea of swimming with one’s hands tied,” she says.
“I tried swimming with my hands tied at different distances and with different records, but the longest time recorded was 175 minutes,” she says.
According to Konari, she was told later that 175 Iranian frogmen died during the Iraqi imposed war in the 1980s, and that the funeral procession held for them was one of the most memorable ones in the country.
“I became curious. I read about them on social media. Looked like everything had stopped on this number (175),” she adds.
“Well, I live in Khuzestan which still smells of war. I am a swimming and lifeguard coach. I still have students whose fathers or brothers were martyred or disabled during the war. In the street, I see men maimed by bullets or shell,” she says.
While I was swimming, someone was in charge of informing me of the time.
“Well done! Twenty minutes have passed, or …. But I never heard what they said about time and told myself that ‘you have fulfilled your debt of gratitude to 20 out of 175 martyred divers, don’t give up, keep swimming and fight!’; my true intention in every one of those 175 minutes that passed was to make people curious when they hear about the record that I have set and to prompt them to go find out more about those martyrs,” she says.
“I had another concern, too; I wanted this achievement to be a wake-up call for housewife mothers, too,” she says.
“Mothers and housewives should spend time for their health and success. Sometimes when I get back home from work and do household chores with interests, it is strange for my son who keeps wondering how much energy I have,” she says.
“I tell them that I get energy when I see them,” she says.
“When I set the record, it was very interesting for him. Now the way he looks at Iranian ladies and mothers has changed. He no longer regards women as weak creatures who should be taken care of, or who are only able to cook food or clean the house. Women can achieve many successes,” she says.