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Swim Club Answers the Call of the Sea

Posted August. 03, 2006 03:05,   


This is not a regular swimming lesson. Raising spray constantly on 25 meter pool, dozens of fins are coming up to the surface of the water and going down.

Like some marathoners pursuing “runner’s high” (the ecstasy that comes from continuing extreme exercise), these people are seeking a “swimmer’s high.”

Members of the Mapo-gu Swimming Association are these mermaids who desire to pass through the boundless ocean with a fin. They created a new athletic club, a fin swimming association, separated from the biggest Korean swimming club Suyeong Sarang (Love for Swimming) last December. Now they have some 250 members registered, most of whom are office workers in their 30s. Almost half of them are women.

It seems easier swimming with a fin than with bare feet, but for those who are not good swimmers, the fin is rather a burden because of the water resistance. Only after having learned over six months can one be ready to fin swim. Most members in this club are people with experience over three years. However, one can speed up far faster than before once being used to handling fins.

They usually practice in a pool, but ultimately, they want to go out to sea. Lee Sin-seok, who calls himself a sea fin-swimming lover, says, “It is fascinating to swim in a deep blue sea.”

Domestic fin swimming contests are held 10 times a year, and the number increases gradually. Most among these 12 people who came to this pool that day are supposed to participate in the swimming competition that will be held near the Gwanganri coast in Busan on August 6.

Fighting with waves and temperature-

Held in the sea and river, fin-swimming competitions mostly offer a long-distance course that is longer than 3.0 kilometers. That is why it requires strong physical strength. In this harsh game, the participants have to fight against high waves and low temperatures.

Lee Jong-moo, the vice president of the club, says, “In a 3.0 kilometer game, 300 meters away from the start is the critical point. You are so exhausted that you just want to give up at this moment. However, once you get over this and continue to pass 500 meters and 1,000 meters, it is okay. When you finish the whole course in the end, one is possibly never happier.”