By Rui Hu, EDITOR
A relay swim team succeeded in crossing the English Channel before the dawn of July 4. It consists of five Chinese women, including Wei Qing, an extreme swimming enthusiast from Chongqing.
The English Channel is one of the straits which are most difficult to cross for its low-temperature water. “The relay swim is mainly designed to prevent the swimmers from being physically exhausted,” said Lyu Gang, leader of this activity and an extreme swimming lover from Zunyi, Guizhou Province. The five swimmers of the China Women Channel Crossing Team entered the water at the beach of the Abers Cliff, Dover, the UK at London time 21:57, July 2 (Beijing time: 4:57, July 3). Captain Zhang Shujuan (from Liaoning) took the lead in the relay swim, followed by Zheng Kemei (Anhui), Lu Yanhua (Heilongjiang), Wang Shuiliang (Shanxi) and Wei Qing (Chongqing).
19 hours and 33 minutes
Swimming in unfamiliar open water at night is a challenge for female team members. The waves gradually built up since the second member began to swim, causing a delay in completion time (the optimum duration is 15 hours). As a result, the relay swim became more strenuous for the following swimmers, and the mileage significantly increased. What’s worse, due to a sudden change of the ocean current, the team missed several landing places in the late stage, leading to physical exhaustion of some members.
“Fortunately, we made it anyway,” said Wei Qing. It took the team 19 hours and 33 minutes.
This team had applied to the Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CSPF) and was approved in early April this year. According to the rules, each team shall consist of four to six members, each one of them shall take turns to swim for one hour, and the failure of any one member will lead to the collapse of the whole team.
Earlier on June 25, a Chinese male relay team of four members completed the challenge of crossing the English Channel. It took 14 hours and 55 minutes to swim the 45.5 kilometers.