Swimming star aims for $500,000 Splash

Local | Amy Nip and Cindy Wan 30 Oct 2018

Amy Nip and Cindy Cheung

A Chinese-American woman will swim 45 kilometers around Hong Kong Island in a bid to raise HK$500,000 for a foundation offering free swimming lessons to domestic workers and children.

She has so far raised HK$360,000 and hopes to reach HK$500,000 by November 30.

Edie Hu will embark on her swim on Saturday, making her the first female to attempt the feat since 1976. She will also be the first Chinese-American to do so.

One of the founding coaches of the Splash Foundation, Hu will start her swim at 4am and the 43-year-old veteran swimmer aims to finish in 12 to 15 hours.

Dubbed "HK360Swim," the 45km route starts from Sai Wan Swimming Shed near Kennedy Town, and goes clockwise through Victoria Harbour, Shek O and Ap Lei Chau. Those attempting it are encouraged to swim for a cause.

In preparation of the race, Hu has swum more than 700km in open water over the past 12 months - the equivalent of swimming from Hong Kong to Taiwan.

To prepare for the challenge, Hu swims around 10 to 30 kilometers with her friends on the southern coast of Hong Kong during weekends.

Hu joined a swimming team at the age of seven, and continued to take part in competitive swimming in high school and college.

It wasn't until she moved to Hong Kong from New York 11 years ago that she started swimming again in open water.

So far, she has swum in most of the local marathon races, including the Clean Half and Cold Half, and also ventured out to complete the Maui Channel Swim in Hawaii and Rottnest Channel Swim in Australia. Most recently, she swam the English Channel with a relay partner. Splash Foundation is the only charity in Hong Kong which offers free swimming lessons to domestic helpers and children.

The foundation seeks to empower the 370,000-strong foreign domestic helper community.

The foundation has so far taught 1,348 underprivileged kids, migrant domestic workers and refugees how to swim since it was established in 2015. The organization aims to teach 5,000 people how to swim by 2020.

Apart from Hu, a relay team of six swimmers from different countries, who will be known as "The Drifters," will attempt to swim the 45km route on November 17. They aim to make history by setting a new world record. They are also raising funds for the same charity.

People interested in supporting the event can visit the HK360Swim website at http://hk360swim.com/

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