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Thursday, 8th September 2016
In Japan Sports News,

Swimmer, 73, breaks record traversing Tsugaru Strait

A 73-year-old Japanese man has broken the record for being the oldest person to swim across the Tsugaru Strait.

Toshio Tominaga faced unpredictable currents and stinging jellyfish as he completed the ten-hour swim on Wednesday (September 7th).

The channel, located in the north of Japan, is considered among the most difficult swims to do anywhere in the world.

This is despite only being 19.5 kilometres wide at its narrowest point. Tominaga swam a total of 38 kilometres, as it’s almost impossible to stay on a direct trajectory due to the currents.

He struck out northwards, as currents travelling towards the east threatened to throw him off course.

It could have been worse, however, as the conditions were better than forecast for much of the swim.

Masayuki Moriya, a member of the support team, told AFP: “Until the last five kilometres it looked easy for him but the final leg was very hard with strong currents.”

Organisers had believed Tominaga would need to swim 45 kilometres to make the crossing before he set off.

Had this been the case, it is likely it would have taken him around 12 hours, as opposed to the nine hours and 58 minutes he completed it in.

Tominaga has taken the title of oldest swimmer to cross the Tsugara Strait from an American woman, Pat Gallant-Charette, who completed the challenge in 2012 at the age of 61.

At the other end of the spectrum, Honoka Hasegawa made the crossing last month at only 18-years-old, becoming the youngest person and fastest women to do the swim.

The Tsugaru Strait is part of the Oceans Seven series, which see marathon swimmers take on a series of long-distance swims across the world.

Also included are the North Channel, the Cook Strait, the Molokai Channel, the English Channel, the Catalina Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar.