Monday, June 30, 2008

Lasting Images of China - Part 20

Yanqiao Fang, China's female representative in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, finished right behind multi-time world champion, Edith van Dijk of the Netherlands, at the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville.

"The world champions are not that much stronger than me," confidently said Fang who has been lurking around the top 10 for the past year. She finished 11th at the 2007 World Swimming Championships in Melbourne where she was repeatedly stung by jellyfish.

Jellyfish are one thing, but aggressive rivals are another.

"I understand being physically strong is important. You don't have your own lane, instead you fight to keep on course," said Fang to the China Daily. "It's like a battle in the water. The real battle is in August [at the Beijing Olympics]."
Zu Lijun, a 1500-meter specialist like Fang who moved up to the 10K, will represent China in men's 10K.

So the 10K hopes of China will fall on the shoulders of Fang and Zu.

And, the future of open water swimming in China appears to be bright.

1,022 swimmers took part in the 2008 Chinese Open Water National Championships in a man-made lake near the east coast of China (see photo). Out of these participants, China is bound to develop some future world-class marathon swimmers.

Photo footnote: The venue was Qiandao Lake (literally, "a lake of thousand islands") which has 1,078 large islands and a few thousand smaller ones in the lake. The water in the lake is very clear and used to produce the Nongfu Spring Mineral water in China. Some of the more exotic islands in the lake are called the Bird Island, the Snake Island, the Lock Island and...the Island to Remind You of Your Childhood.

Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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