World: The Other Swimmer

Red China's Mao Tse-tung is a bug on swimming. Six years ago, at 63, he swam the Yangtze River three times and wrote a triumphant poem about it. Then one day two years later, in the South China provincial capital of Nanning, Mao stripped down to a pair of striped green and white shorts and plopped into the Yung River, with a local swimming champion, Lo Tat-on, 17, and two other young Chinese for company. Lo was not impressed. "Very poor swimming style," he recalls.

At the time Lo prudently kept his estimate of Mao's prowess to himself; he also did not...

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