More than 100 people took the plunge into the murky waters of the Mekong River Sunday to compete in the 17th annual Mekong River Swim.
David Hunt, vice principal of the iCAN British International School, which has organized the swim for the past three years, said that 112 men, women and children, aged between 11 and 61 took part in the swim across a wide section of the river.
“This year we had two starts. The first was for the more experienced swimmers and then we had a second one for those swimming at a more leisurely pace,” Mr. Hunt said. “But they were all racing.” The race took place at the Prek Leap Agricultural College in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district, beginning at 9 a.m. The fastest swimmer of the approximately 700-meter crossing was Frenchman Xavier Riblet, who swam it in 7 minutes and 38 seconds, about two minutes ahead of the nearest challenger.
“Most people do it in 17 or 18 minutes,” said Mr. Hunt, adding that Mr. Riblet had won the swim more than a dozen times since its inception. The swimmers, mostly expatriates, were raising money for the Cambodian Children’s Trust in Battambang province—which runs a survival swimming program for local children—or charities of their choice, he said.