Tue, Apr 14, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Sea swimming race over 3km off Ilan set for next month

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A 3km sea swimming event in Ilan next month might present those keen on long-distance swimming with just the challenge they have been looking for.

The race, scheduled for May 31, will start and end on the beach at Toucheng (頭城).

To protect the safety of swimmers, the race will have one lifeguard every 100m along the route, while members of the Coast Guard Administration will help patrol the area, Toucheng Swimming Association director Yu Hsueh-yu (游雪玉) said.

The registration deadline is Monday. Swimmers must register in teams, with a minimum of five persons in a team.

Registration forms and updated information in Chinese are available at http://140.111.130.21/tcswimming/guishan/index.html. Swimmers can also call 03-957-3385 for more details.

On the day before the 3km race, a closed relay race will be contested from Toucheng to Guishan Island (龜山島) off the coast of Ilan County, a distance of about 10km.

Fifty-five swimmers have been selected for the relay race through qualifiers held nationwide earlier this month. They have been divided into 11 teams and are undergoing intensive training for the race, Yu said.

Because this is the first time that such a challenging race is being held, Yu said, athletes had to be younger than 55 and have passed a lifeguard qualification.

The winners of the relay will represent Ilan County in a race from Xiamen to Kinmen in August.

Also known as Turtle Island, Guishan Island used to be a military zone where public access was restricted. The government turned it into a tourist attraction in 2000, although the number of daily visitors is capped at 400 on weekdays and 500 on weekends.

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