CHINA / National

Law professor makes Arctic cold water plunge
By Zhu Chengpei (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-29 06:06

NORWAY: Chinese law professor Wang Gangyi successfully challenged the icy Arctic waters off the island of Mageroya on Thursday afternoon.

Wang, a 50-year-old professor from Dalian University of Technology in Northeast China's Liaoning Province, plunged into the cold water near Nordkapp at 4:55 pm (local time in Oslo) and swam for 58 minutes and 35 seconds, setting another record in his adventures in cold bodies of water.

Wang is the first Chinese to swim in both Antarctic and Arctic areas.

"I was feeling choked and sleepy," Wang said after he was hauled to an accompanying boat.

Wang was so exhausted it took more than an hour of massaging from his staff to get him to come to.

"The temperature of the water was 8 C, but it was the rough waves made me so exhausted," Wang said.

Wang tried the water one day before and felt so excited that he did not sleep well that night.

Wang originally planned to start swimming 6 hours earlier, but the foggy weather delayed his dip.

The Norwegians sent two boats for the first-aid staff and cameramen. Hugo Salamonsen and another Norwegian captain guided and witnessed his swimming.

Wang signed a letter of notarization with the local administration, as he does before each of his adventures, demonstrating his acceptance of full responsibility for any consequences of his actions.

Unlike his previous adventures in winter, Wang chose summer to challenge himself this time.

During his drive from Finland to Norway, Wang swam in the Gulf of Finland and the Lake of Inari to acclimate to the region's cold water.

Despite the rapid climate transition from his hometown with an average temperature of about 30 C to almost 0 C and the weariness of his long journey, Wang had planned to swim in the cold Norwegian water for at least 20 minutes.

Wang learned how to swim 10 years ago and has been interested in winter swimming ever since.

"I kept training and discovered an effective method of keeping from getting cold," he said.

Wang said systematic training could help human beings withstand cold water.

In February of 2001, Wang set a record by swimming for 52 minutes in the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean. He also swam in Chile's Magellan Strait, Japan's Hokkaido and the Titanic disaster site in the North Atlantic.

(China Daily 07/29/2006 page2)