Zhang Jian's Hometown Is The Ocean

Zhang Jian’s Hometown Is The Ocean

Zhang Jian of China hopes to become the first person to swim across the 141 km (87.6 miles) Taiwan Strait. “It would be a dream come true,” said the Sports Director at Beijing Sports University who idea was first born when he swam across the 29.5 km Qiongzhou Strait in 1988.

But his career has included a number of other swims, enabling him to build up to this latest exploit. Besides the Qiongzhou Strait, he also was the first person to cross the Bohai Bay (123 km or 76.4 miles) from Liaoning province to Guangdong province (50 hours 22 minutes in 2000), the Xing Kai Lake (69 km or 42.8 miles) in Heilongjiang province (36 hours 30 minutes in 2010), the Fuxianhu Lake (12 hours 1 minute in 2001), the Ling-Ding Sea from Hong Kong to Macau (10 hours 43 minutes in 2005), and the English Channel (11 hours 56 minutes in 2001).

Zhang would like to promote more cross-strait long-distance swim events knowing that the annual Sun Moon Lake International Swimming Carnival in central Taiwan draws over 25,000 participants annually. “Because the Earth’s surface is 70% of oceans and lakes, oceans and lakes have considerable appeal. Oceans rapidly change with ocean currents and water temperature dynamically changing every moment. Because everything is not the same, I need to be completely prepared to test my response and capabilities to the environment.”

But Zhang‘s approach is strategic as his career at the Beijing Sports University. His course across the tricky, windy Strait filled with aggressive marine life includes a flotilla of escort boats with supplies. His advance preparations are considerable and comprehensive based on his previous marathon swimming experiences. “Although the challenge is done in nature, we must approach [the swim] in a very scientific and rigorous manner.”

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Steven Munatones