Old Ja­panese man com­pletes his­toric Tsug­aru Strait swim

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

A JA­PANESE man aged 73 be­came the world’s old­est per­son to swim across the coun­try’s Tsug­aru Strait yes­ter­day, sup­port­ers said, brav­ing un­pre­dictable cur­rents and sting­ing jel­ly­fish in his quest.

Toshio Tom­i­naga’s record bid saw him spend about 10 hours swim­ming across the chan­nel in north­ern Ja­pan that is con­sid­ered one of the world’s most dif­fi­cult be­cause of strong and un­pre­dictable cur­rents, his sup­port­ers said.

The strait is only 19.5 kilo­me­tres (12 miles) wide at its nar­row­est point, but Tom­i­naga ended up swim­ming 38 kilo­me­tres, plough­ing north­ward as he bat­tled cur­rents mov­ing east­ward, sup­port team mem­ber Masayuki Moriya said.

Tom­i­naga “is so ex­hausted that he needs to rest”, Moriya told AFP min­utes after the achieve­ment.

Or­gan­is­ers had ex­pected he would have to swim for about 12 hours, cov­er­ing 45km, but cur­rents were weaker than fore­cast for much of the jour­ney, Moriya said.

“Un­til the last 5km it looked easy for him but the fi­nal leg was very hard with strong cur­rents,” he added.

The sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian be­gan his swim at 5:28am yes­ter­day. Nine hours and 58 min­utes later, he ar­rived on the other side of the strait, sup­port­ers an­nounced on Face­book.

“He be­came the world’s old­est” per­son to ac­com­plish the feat, the post said.

Marathon swim­mers usu­ally at­tempt Tsug­aru as part of their bid to com­plete the world’s “Oceans Seven” long-dis­tance swims, along with the English Chan­nel, the Strait of Gi­bral­tar and four others, ac­cord­ing to the World Open Wa­ter Swim­ming As­so­ci­a­tion.

In the past, swim­mers have en­coun­tered sharks and fended off jel­ly­fish and squid to com­plete the cross­ing, a feat first ac­com­plished by US ath­lete David Yu­dovin in 1990.

In 2012 Amer­i­can woman Pat Gal­lant-Charette be­came the old­est per­son to swim across Tsug­aru at 61.

Last month 18-year-old Ja­panese swim­mer Honoka Hasegawa be­came the youngest per­son and the fastest woman to cross the strait. –

Photo: AFP

Toshio Tom­i­naga rests after swim­ming 38 kilo­me­tres (23.6 miles) across the Tsug­aru Strait yes­ter­day.

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