Winners of cross-harbour swim retain their crowns

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 October, 2012, 2:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

The winners of last year’s revived cross-harbour race managed to stay champions again as 1,679 swimmers jumped into the harbour on Sunday morning.

Both champions are members of the Hong Kong swimming team. The winner in the women’s category, Natasha Tang Wing-yung, a participant of the London Olympics, finished the race in 17.21 minutes. Male champion Ling Tin-yu was slightly faster, with a performance time of 16.57 minutes.

Ling said that the moment he got in the water, his strategy was swim to his fullest.

The race was said to be more competitive this year because the race route is 300 metres shorter but 1,800 people registered, an increase from last year’s 1,000. On Sunday, only 1,679 people showed up to race.

The organiser, Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (HKASA), relocated the finishing point to Sai Wan Ho Harbour Park Public Pier to accommodate the large number of swimmers; last year it was at Quarry Bay Park. The starting point was Sam Ka Tsuen Public Pier in Lei Yue Mun.

Participants came from all walks of life, including one who is deaf and another with polio, or infantile paralysis.

The annual race, which was revived last year due to popular demand, is a tradition that attracted hundreds of swimmers and thousands of spectators dating back to 1906.

The event was halted in 1978 due to a deterioration in water quality, but HKASA said they did not receive any complaints about pollution from the 1,000 competitors of last year’s race.

“We have been monitoring closely the water quality based on latest information supplied by the Environmental Protection Department,” it said.

Organisers added that the route was cleaned before the competition started.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.