Jia Long 4Dr Chua Jia Long, Medical Officer with the Republic of Singapore Navy, in training for his Hudson River Swim. Photo Credit : Dr Chua Jia Long


From 9 to 16 June this year, Singaporean Dr Chua Jia Long will take part in the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim to raise $25,000 for St Luke’s Hospital (SLH). Touted to be “the longest marathon swim in the world”, the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim is an open-water race in New York that requires participants to swim 120 miles (192km) – approximately the length of Singapore’s coastline. Jia Long, who is a Medical Officer with the Republic of Singapore Navy, looks forward to be the first Singaporean to successfully complete this event.

It's been 3 years since Jia Long first had the idea of taking on the Hudson River challenge. Due to Covid-19 however, the Medical Officer at SLH in 2020, was forced to put the idea on hold. “Back then, I was involved in both inpatient and outpatient care, and saw the positive benefit that SLH was providing to the community, so I wanted to do my part for the hospital,” recalled Jia Long.

Jia Long 1a32 year old Republic of Singapore Navy Medical Officer, Dr Chua Jia Long. Photo Credit : Dr Chua Jia Long


Regarding his preparations for the 192-kilometre race, the 32 year old had to wake up at 4.30am daily and swim 4-5km before work and continued with another swim at the end of his workday. To build up his endurance, Jia Long swam longer distances on weekends. And he progressed to his current personal best of 6-hour (20km) swims. The Hudson River Swim spans 7 days, with a stage held each day requiring participants to swim non-stop for 4-6 hours!

Training for a colder open-water swim is tougher in the warm and humid weather conditions of Singapore. To Jia Long, his biggest challenges would be acclimating to the cold-water temperature and race conditions. Being in the water for too long might also result in cumulative fatigue, chafed skin and cramps. As the swim rules prohibit the use of any thermal protection, Jia Long has been taking daily ice-cold showers and weekly cold tolerance training in an ice tub. He will also be following a strict nutrition plan of gels, drinks and electrolyte salt tablets whilst in the water.

Having picked up open-water swimming less than 4 years ago, Jia Long hopes to inspire others to face their challenges head on. He said: “I want to show that by breaking down the goal into a thousand small steps and taking the necessary steps daily, we can gradually overcome seemingly impossible challenges. Similarly, many people find it hard to sustain their exercise or even physical therapy. The trick is to start small and build up.”

All proceeds from this fundraising effort will go towards supporting patients at St Luke’s Hospital, ensuring they can recover, return home and reintegrate into the community. SLH continues to urge seniors in the community to remain healthy physically, socially and mentally through various preventive care programmes and initiatives, such as Western Silvercare, a community screening, prevention and active ageing programme.

Meanwhile, the 32 year old medical officer arrived in New York on 6 June, and he's excited for his first swim on 9 June. But he has to now also contend with another major challenge, as New York and several north American cities are currently experiencing strong hazy and cloudy conditions. These are due to the heavy smoke from Canadian wildfires. The PSI air quality index is between the range of 150-300.


The public can follow Dr Jia Long’s swim updates and donate here

Jia Long 2Dr Chua Jia Long, Medical Officer with the Republic of Singapore Navy, in training for his Hudson River Swim. Photo Credit : Dr Chua Jia Long