A 13-year-old girl with autism covered a distance of about 18 miles by swimming for 13 hours to raise awareness on the condition she was born with.

Jiya Rai, from Mumbai, India, was lauded for swimming from Talaimannar in Sri Lanka to Arichalmunai in Tamil Nadu on Sunday. She began her expedition at around 4:22 a.m. in the morning and only stopped at around 5.32 p.m. after reaching her destination, according to India Today.

It took Jiya 13 hours and five minutes to reach Tamil Nadu, where a crowd cheered for her and a police officer waited to present her with a souvenir.

“This sea is filled with sea snakes, milk sharks and jellyfish. Also, you can’t predict the current in these waters and Jiya Rai still swam through it, which definitely should be appreciated,” said a senior police officer who greet the teen after she completed her expedition.

Jiya was around two years old when her family found out she had autism spectrum disorder and speech delay. The girl became an avid swimmer after doctors advised her to start swimming training and even went on to achieve a world record by swimming from Worli Sea Link in Bandra, Mumbai, to Gateway of India, which is toward the southernmost end of the city, in Colaba. She managed to cover the journey in about eight hours and 40 minutes, according to The Hindu.

For her latest feat achieved Sunday, Jiya obtained the required immigration clearance and was given protection by the Sri Lankan Navy as she began swimming from the starting point. Once she reached the International maritime border, the Indian coast guard took over.

The young teenager’s father, Madan Rai, spoke about how his daughter is happy to have completed the swim in 13 hours, which is a new record, according to ANI.

“For the first three hours, it was difficult for her to swim. My daughter, who suffers from autism and has lost the ability to speak, said that she considered it a great achievement to have swum through the Bay of Bengal in 13 hours,” the proud father said.

The police officer who presented Jiya with a souvenir also praised Jiya saying: “There are many trekkers in the country who trek in the Himalayas. But the number of swimmers is very less. So the youth should come forward to achieve the feat of swimming. This sea is not like any other sea; it is a tidal sea."

Representative image Credit: Pixabay / birgl