Sun Moon Lake Swim

35th anniversary Sun Moon Lake International Swimming Carnival

We have been to Sun Moon Lake a number of times, but we’ve never gone for a swim.  This is because swimming is prohibited, except for once a year. Once a year, one of the world’s largest non-competitive fun swims occurs.  It’s one of Asia’s top 50 swims and the only opportunity to swim in Taiwan’s largest freshwater lake with approximately 23,000 other people.  If you’re older than ten and can swim 3,300 meters (2 miles), this swim is for you!

Can you spot us in our teal and yellow swim caps?
This is the Nike / Feng Tay (a Nike factory partner) swim team. On the left is Jimmy (Feng Tay employee), who helped organize this year.  Jimmy and I have worked together for 10 years!
The Nike part of the team: David, Scott, Leon, and Charlie. All Nike colleagues except for Charlie whose wife works at Nike.
Mandatory Floaties
This swimmer comes here every year.
Time to gear up and get in the water
Everyone has to walk through the shower spritzer before entering the water.  Luckily our team registered early, so we were in the first wave of people in the water.  There were perhaps a couple hundred people in front of us and about 22,000 behind us.
Charlie and I make our way to the dock and get ready to launch.
45 minutes later… on the other side…
Turns out Charlie was previously a lifeguard (long before becoming an IML: International Man of Leisure). He isn’t just giving a peace sign, he really finished second. What a show off! He was interviewed by the local news and is now Taiwan famous.
Charlie and his proud family.
1 hour 15 minutes later…
Feels good to rinse off and be done.
My biggest fan with her trusty binocs!
What’s this? Of course we will sample your beer.  It’s noon somewhere.
Just look at the great race swag.  A sporty towel and a shirt with a collar because everyone works out in a collared shirt?
A stream of swimmers
Dumpling soup! The steady stream of swimmers make their way across.

This year the race was nearly canceled because Typhoon Mangkhut was heading towards Taiwan, but it ended up moving south towards the Philippines (and unfortunately walloping them severely).  There was enough wind that the large floating islands with the lifeguards on them kept blowing to the south end of the lake and delaying the start of the race – by two hours! During the race it caused the swimmers to swim in more of an “S” shape across the lake (as opposed to a straight line).  By some unofficial accounts, this caused this years swim to be closer to 3,800 meters as opposed to the 3,300 stated.


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4 thoughts on “Sun Moon Lake Swim

  1. Wow. You two always have great adventures to recount. By the way, what was the water like? Temperature? Taste?

    1. The water was not too cold. I tried not to get it in my mouth as it wasn’t very clear. The toughest part of the water was the wake tossing me around from the passenger boats going back and forth, because why would you slow down or limit the passenger boats?

  2. Wow, that looks like so much fun! Only 22,000 behind you—- good you got there early. Especially since the course got longer and longer as the wind blew! And then there was beer! Taiwanese know how to have a good time together! Jimmy looks like a great guy full of fun & lots of energy and IML looks— well…. debonair with notes of that enchantingly mysterious ineffable quality common to all IML. Sarah, I recognize that sun-hat!! Ex-lifeguard KTG ( And President of the Emmaus High Dolphin Club)🧜‍♀️

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