More than a thousand men and women plunged into the cool water of Hong Kong’s Victoria Bay on Sunday morning, competing to see who could swim the fastest across the harbour in open water.
The New World Harbour Race, which had been suspended for the past two years due to the pandemic and the 2019 anti-government protests, was held on Sunday with a limited field of 1,200 swimmers.
The 1km (0.62 mile) race went from Wan Chai on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon.
The swimmers appeared as a flurry of splashes and limbs as they moved across the bay.
Keith Sin, who won the men’s category, said he took the ferry to Wan Chai to scope out the route and made ample preparations to understand the ocean currents.
“After the location scouting, I searched for more photos of the route at night. Then I laid out a route on when to make turns,” he said.
For some participants, the best part of the race was just feeling as though life was normal again amid the pandemic.
“It’s a chance to see Hong Kong from a different perspective,” said Vincent, a participant in the leisure swim category who gave only his first name.
“So, yeah, great experience. Nice to see Hong Kong opening up a little and having normal life again.”
To participate, swimmers had to be fully vaccinated and take a Covid-19 test two days before the race.