Hatsujima Atami Relays Carry On The Tradition

Hatsujima Atami Relays Carry On The Tradition

The 65th annual Hatsujima Atami Relays (第65回初島・熱海間団体競泳大会) is a long-running 3-person 12 km open water swimming relay held south of Tokyo from the island of Hatsujima to Atami Sun Beach in Shizuoka Prefecture on the mainland of Honshu, the main island of Japan.

The event is supported by the Ministry of Education and is always held on August 4th each year. The swim has continued for 65 editions with the exception of a brief postponement during World War II.

The Hatsujima Atami Relays are the world’s first official team pursuit open water swimming competition. The 3-member teams used a variety of strategies in their aquatic pelotons: shifting leaders in set time durations, drafting off of each others feet, drafting off to the side, or drafting off of the strongest swimmer.

The race starts on Hatsujima at 12 noon and requires that the 3 swimmers on each team must stay within 10 meters of one another during the 12 km race. Each team is guided by an escort boat and finishes in a festive atmosphere on Atami Sun Beach.

Photo courtesy of Mucchi.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones