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14 Taiwanese, Chinese swimmers to join up for cross-strait swim event

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A total of 14 swimmers from Taiwan and China will join together for a cross-strait swimming relay next month, organizers announced recently.

The cross-strait swimming relay co-organized by swimming associations from Taiwan and China is to set off from the shore of Taiwan's northeast Hsinchu city and end in Pingtan County in China's Fujian Province, organizers said yesterday at a press conference in Hsinchu.

The challenge will be taken on by seven Taiwanese swimmers and seven of their Chinese counterparts; it will be held on Aug. 16.

The first section is to be completed by Taiwan's Su Tzu-chieh (蘇子傑), who will start the relay from Hsinchu before passing the baton to a Chinese swimmer. Swimmers from both sides of the Strait will take turns until the challenge is completed, organizers said.

According to Morrie Chiang (姜茂勝), the chief organizer of the challenge, the distance between Hsinchu and Pingtan is about 130 kilometers.

However, due to the pull of ocean currents, Chiang said swimmers will have to actually swim up to 200 to 250 kilometers, which could take as long as 72 hours in total, to cross the Taiwan Strait.

Each swimmer would have to swim for three hours straight, he added.

Strong currents in the Taiwan Strait will be a major challenge during the relay. For the safety of swimmers, organizers will have a total of five ships escorting them throughout the challenge, he added.

Su Shih-han (蘇詩涵), the only female swimmer joining the event, said yesterday that she is looking forward to the challenge.

Further challenges during the swim will be swimming in the darkness, as well as jellyfish and sharks that swimmers may encounter.

Su noted that all swimmers are well-trained and prepared for the event, and they are all confident of completing the relay.

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