Biggest-ever harbor swim set

Local | Sophie Hui 26 Jun 2019

The annual cross-harbor swimming races will feature 400 more participants this year and conclude at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The New World Harbour Race is on October 27, and people can register from now until August 21.

With 4,000 people allowed in the various races, this year's event will feature the most participants since it was first held in 1906.

Organized by the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association, the events will also see swimmers going in a different direction from last year by starting from the public pier at Wan Chai's Golden Bauhinia Square and going to the Avenue of Stars.

Last year's route was from the public ferry pier in Tsim Sha Tsui to Golden Bauhinia Square.

Still, the regular swim distance will remain the same at approximately one kilometer.

But an international category has been introduced to the competition this year, and swimmers will follow a route that spans five kilometers.

However, only swimmers who are representatives of their national swimming federations can join the race.

The HKASA said 50 elite swimmers from various countries and regions have been invited to participate in the event.

There is also a new category designed for young people. It is called the University Championship, and the swimming association explains this category is aimed at encouraging more young people to take part in the competition.

Students from 11 universities in the SAR will be forming teams for the event. Each university can enter two teams, with each consisting of two boys or two girls.

Winners of the University Championship will receive trophies, medals and electronic certificates as well as a summer internship or a job alongside someone at cross-harbor swim sponsor New World Development.

They will also get a free personal plan from insurance company FTLife, which will be valid for 12 months.

The quota for the leisure swimmer group, which is open to entrants who are 12 or above, has increased to 3,300 from 3,000 last year.

People who are 60 or older must present a medical certificate.

And people aiming to take part in the leisure category have to swim 1,500 meters within 45 minutes during a time trial in September to obtain accreditation.

People who cannot join in this year's time trial have to fulfill one of the exemptions listed by the organizers, such as submitting a time trial record or a result from last year's race.

Entrant lists and related details will be announced on September 25 on the HKASA website.

As for the routing, authorities in 2017 gave organizers the green light to move the route back to the Tsim Sha Tsui and Golden Bauhinia Square piers as the water in Victoria Harbour was deemed safe following lower E coli readings.

The event had for a while started from Sam Ka Tsuen pier in Lei Yue Mun and ended at Quarry Bay Park.

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