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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ocean Recovery Alliance Celebrated In The Clean Half

Daunting. Extreme. Challenging. And more was experienced at today's 5th annual Ocean Recovery Alliance Clean Half extreme marathon swim race in Hong Kong.

Ranked as one of the top open water swims in the world, 35 teams and 13 solo swimmers from six countries braved the winds, swells, rough surface chop and tricky ocean currents to finish the 15K course in the warm, blue waters.

The 2010 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year and two-time winner Marcos Díaz won the men’s solo race again in 3 hours 44 min with Gary Claydon was second (3:50) and Dave Mathews in third (3:58). Marcos said, "This event is amazing because of the incredible scenery and water, just next to one of the most crowded cities in the world. When Doug Woodring mentioned that Hong Kong is like New York and Hawaii put together, I laughed, but when I came and saw it, I completely knew what he was talking about."

Stretching from Stanley to Deepwater Bay, the relay course enables the swimmers, pilots and volunteers to see Hong Kong’s most stunning views - scenery most businesspeople never have the opportunity to enjoy. Held along the 'Clean Half' of Hong Kong Island, the event is also organized to highlight the importance of Hong Kong’s ocean and water environment.

The LRC Nippers won the men’s relay category in 3:22:04 while the LRC Orcas won the women’s division in 3:43:12. The LRC Marlins completed the sweep by winning the mixed category in 3:39:54.

This year, more than previous years, the swimmers enjoyed the marine life. The living aquarium was enhanced because trawling (fishing) in all of Hong Kong waters was banned earlier, enabling the local area to rejuvenate itself, bringing many benefits to the community along the way. Hong Kong’s welcoming waters are an ideal backdrop for an open water challenge. "This is easily one of the coolest events around, due to the social aspect of the team event for the swim, the incredible scenery that Hong Kong has to offer, and the quality of the athletes," commented Anna Mathisen, one of Hong Kong’s top outrigger canoeists.

Each relay team had five members who swam for 20 minutes during their first rotation and 10 minutes on their subsequent rotations until the race finished in Deepwater Bay.

The event was a charity swim with the benefits going to the Ocean Recovery Alliance, a non-profit organization which is focused on reducing the impact of plastic waste in the oceans and on the planet. "The reduction of plastic waste is proven to impact over 270 species of wildlife in the ocean environment alone. We had an incredible race this year, and already competitors are planning for next year. This is a unique race in the region, with a carbon-neutral category as well, where swimmers paddle outrigger canoes as they race. The overall goal is to promote sport, our great waters, and remind people of the importance of the ocean around us,” says Race Director Doug Woodring (on far right in photo above with top men's finishers including Marcos Díaz in yellow shirt).

Men's Division Results:
1. LRC Nippers - 3:22:04
2. LRC Cods - 3:43:11
3. LRC Belugas - 3:44:26

Women's Division Results:
1. LRC Orcas -3:43:12
2. LRC Sirens -4:23:37
3. LRC Pearls -4:48:12

Mixed Division Results:
1. LRC Marlins - 3:26:59
2. HK Football Club A - 3:39:54
3. Rubber Ducks - 4:04:40

Solo Swimmer Results:
1. Marcos Diaz (Dominican Republic) - 3:44:08
2. Gary Claydon (Australia) - 3:50:37
3. Greg James (Hong Kong) - 3:58:17
1. Tori Gorman (top woman) - 4:04:13

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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