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73-year-old retired professor crosses Yangtze River seven times in a day

(People's Daily Online)

16:46, August 17, 2012

73-year-old retired professor crosses Yangtze River. (Changjiang Daily/Liu Bin)

On Aug. 15, a retired professor Zhang Tianwang, who will celebrate his 80th birthday on Sept. 21, 2012, completed the magnificent mission of crossing the Yangtze River for the 40th time in his life.

When the old man, who started the swimming from the Huanghuaji of Wuchang, reached the Binjiangyuan Dock of Hankou, he raised his hands and shouted energetically and vigorously, "I finally made it!"

On the river bank in the Huanghuaji of Wuchang, Zhang, wearing a washed-out hat which he wore during his first crossing and carrying a life ring, walked into the water of the river with confidence after completing the warm-up.

Then, Zhang, who completed the last crossing two years ago, started to swim as much as he can. Considering the length of the swimming course, the coach Zou kept reminding him, "Slow down. Save your energy."

When Zhang reached the piers of the Yangzi River Bridge, the current had become stronger and waves kept hitting him. Zou immediately shouted to Zhang, "Watch out! There are ripples beside the bridge piers."

At that moment, the reporter and other crews in the boat started to worry about Zhang, but Zhang did not panic and still kept his pace. Zou were carefully observing the water condition and other boats in the river so that he could guide Zhang in time.

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