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Ice, snow, ice pose no obstacle for winter river swimmer(1/6)

2019-12-04 14:30:03 chinadaily.com.cn Editor :Li Yan

Yu Xiaofeng warms-up before diving into the freezing Songhua River, where recent temperatures dropped to as low as -20 C in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)

In the past 26 years, Yu Xiaofeng has never curtailed her daily swim in the Songhua River, even when temperature recently dropped to as low as -20 C in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

Yu, 55, a retired civil servant, is famous among winter swim enthusiasts in the city.

"I was born in Harbin and fell in love with swimming in my childhood, but until 1994, I never thought I could swim in the freezing Songhua River," she said. "In the late autumn of that year, I found some of my colleagues swimming in the river and decided to give it a try."

"Because it was not very cold at that time, I finished practice that was quite different from before," she said. "When the weather became gradually cold, I found that I had adapted to the freezing water in the winter."

Yu Xiaofeng poses for a photo as she kicks her legs in the freezing Songhua River. Recently the temperature dropped to as low as -20 C in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)

She became a winter swimming enthusiast. The extreme cold and strong wind on the frozen Songhua River never dimmed her enthusiasm.

Before retirement, to avoid interfering with work, she got up at about 5 am every day and went swimming after preparing breakfast for her son.

It became a habit that's lasted until today.

"In fact, it is not very easy to get up so early every day, especially in the cold winter," she said. "The greatest victory is overcoming oneself."

Before diving into the icy river, she will do some warm-up exercises, such as jogging and yoga.

And jumping into the Songhua River from a diving platform often draws a rousing ovation from the crowd.

"Winter swimming makes me healthy and feel comfortable," she said. "I will carry on."

Yu Xiaofeng kicks as she swims on her back in the freezing Songhua River, where recently the temperature dropped to as low as -20 C in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)

Yu Xiaofeng playfully leaps into the freezing Songhua River, even as the temperature recently dropped as low as -20 C in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)

Yu Xiaofeng does warm-up exercises before diving into the freezing Songhua River, where even the temperature has dropped recently to as low as -20 C in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)

Yu Xiaofeng swims in the freezing Songhua River, even as the temperature has dropped to as low as -20 C recently in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)

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