WUHAN, China, May 1. THE USA's Erica Rose won the women's 2000 meter speed crossing of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, China, today.
The event was witnessed by a crowd of more than 100,000 people and the entire swim was broadcast live on CCTV all over China and the Phillipines.
This is the swim, held each year on May Day, Chairman Mao Tse-tung made famous in 1966 when, while in his mid-70s, he reportedly swam five miles in 25 minutes. Oh yeah, he swam it breaststroke!!
Though Chairman Mao may have had a wee bit of help from the river current, his record — an average of 5 minutes per mile — still has not been challenged. Eat your heart out, Grant Hackett!
This year marked the first time the event was an international race and the organizers – the City of Wuhan, the Chinese Swimming Association and CCTV – did an incredible job, according to USA Swimming's Sid Cassidy.
Overall, John Flanagan finished ninth in the men's race and was the top foreigner. But, Cassidy reports,
"he misjudged the strength of the current and spent nearly ten minutes swimming back upstream. It definitely cost him the gold."