Mao Tsu-tung Swims Cast Long Shadow In China

Mao Tsu-tung Swims Cast Long Shadow In China

Joe Grossman, a passionate open water swimming promoter and historian extraordinaire unearthed several bits of information on swims in China by the former Mao Tsu-tung.

Chairman Mao‘s swim in the Yangtze River during the Cultural Revolution was highly symbolic where he urged the Chinese population to become more physically active and stronger physiologically while urging citizens to learn to swim in stormy weather. In 1969, he encouraged revolutionary combativeness by forging ahead courageously amid great storms and waves.

The records document that Chairman Mao first crossed the Yangtze River while swimming 13 km in 2:04. In 1955, he crossed the second time, swimming 14 km.

As the age of 63, he swam a 12.5-mile (20 km) course in 1956 in 2 hours flat as he “floated face up seaming without effort, making one or two strokes now and then, his serene face full of smiles as he enjoyed the scenery on both banks” according to Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Pao.

In 1957, Mao swam 12.5 miles in two hours from Wuchang to Hankow. In 1958, Mao swam in Yung River and interest in open water swimming continued in China.

In 1964, an unprecedented 120 people reported to have swum 16 miles in the Yangtze River overcoming waves 3-6 feet (1-2m) high while taking 7 hours.

In 1965, 37-year-old police officer Feng Yao Hisen swam 161 km (99.6 miles) non-stop in 61 hours to set a national endurance record, Peking new China News Agency reported on August 8th. He started in the Tzuya River at Tientsin in northeast China. He broke his own record of 52.2 miles (84 km) in 18 hours that was set in 1964. Another police officer 21-year-old Tien Pao Jan started at same time as Feng Yao Hisen who went 68.35 miles (110 km) in 41 hours.



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