“Sun moon lake was not a swimming competition; it’s a test on how you believe in yourself and how you achieve your goal!” Pyae Sone Tun – GMBA student
On a typhoon weekend in early September 15 GMBA students led by Helen Sun, student council president, left Taipei early in the morning to join the sun moon lake swimming carnival the next day. It was a weekend full of laughter, good food and beautiful memories. 6 students share their experience below. We hope that this tradition might live on in the future to encourage more GMBA students to challenge and believe in themselves.
Swimmer – Marie:
“The sun moon lake swim was such a cool and memorable experience for me.
People in my surroundings had all stayed away from swimming in sun moon lake – “It’s so dirty and smelly” they’ve said. Helen, the president of our student council on the other hand, had participated the previous time before covid and terrified me with pee stories and changing water temperatures. At that time I had pictured myself surrounded by swimmers with bad splashing-water-techniques (that I’ve seen in the sport centers when practicing), and when gasping for air I had swallowed the dirty water with lukewarm pee.
Two three days before the carnival an incoming typhoon was detected. In almost 3 years there had been no typhoons in Taiwan. The same weekend as our swim, it was most likely to hit Taiwan. Due to the weather predictions all registered GMBA candidates voted – where we were going to continue the trip and potentially the swim – yes or no. I voted No. The test results revealed something else – it was still on. I was admittedly not too happy about that.
On the sun moon lake carnival-day itself, it was cold, dark and rainy. The sun had not yet raised. When we arrived by the lake we had to leave umbrellas and belongings behind us before taking a ferry to the other side of the lake where the start line was. We no longer had anything that protected us from the rain.
We marched together with thousands of people towards the starting point. At one time we stopped to receive our slightly yellow but mostly skin colored swimming hats. The Next moment, off with our thongs/flip flops to tie them to our boye.
Soon thereafter we’ve arrived to the water machines that wet us down, and then down the stairs into the lake. It all went too quickly and I had no time to get either excited or scared.
Well in the water it was so nice. It was warmer in the water than on land. I enjoyed every minute of the swim.
The rainy weather just made the swim much more extreme and cool. How often do you swim in rain otherwise? The scenery on top of that was magnificent – misty, gray, surrounded by beautiful mountains. Despite being around relatively many people, the water was calm and had just about the perfect temperature.
The rest is for you to discover yourself next year! I can not other than highly recommend participating in the sun moon lake swim. You’ll love it.”
Swimmer – Tan
“I was amazed by the rich culture and beautiful scenery of this island when I first visited Taiwan as a tourist back then in 2015. It was not until 2020 that I got the chance to work and joined GMBA that I got to know more about Taiwan, dubbed ‘Illha Formosa’, the beautiful island. My Taiwanese friend told me that there’s 3 things to complete if you are at Taiwan:
1. Round around the island
2. Swim through the sun moon lake
3. Hike the Mount YuShan
Having completed my round the island trip in 2021, I finally got the chance to get my second bucket list thanks to the GMBA Student Council for organizing this event. Braving typhoon rain, I took part in the swimming carnival with other 18,000 swimmers. Immersed in the “people soup”, I got to swim at a leisure pace with my GMBA mates and enjoy the scenery around the lake. It is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for me.”
Non swimmer – Pim
“The trip to Sun Moon Lake was my first trip with a big group of GMBA students. We got to enjoy a lot of activities and foods, and the trip was quite well planned. Even though I wasn’t swimming, I was eager for our GMBA swimmers to finish their race!”
Non swimmer – Ita
“I actually and honestly found this trip super beautiful. The first day we went to Chan Chi Shan Hsieh Fo temple 禪機山仙佛寺, it was a lot of fun, and the weather didn’t ruin anything. The place we stayed in sun moon lake, the youth hostel, was super cute and cozy.
I personally really liked this trip, and if ever to have this kind of trip again, I hope we can have a lake tour for non-swimmers too!”
Non swimmer – Riko
“It was very nice to have interactions with GMBA students. Each cuisine was also good, making pizzas, Taiwanese round table food. Hope it won’t rain next time and thanks so much for organizing this event!”