Kenneth To, Hong Kong's record-breaking swimmer, dies at age 26 in the US, World News



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The Kenneth To King record, a Hong Kong swimmer, suddenly died at age 26 in the United States, the Hong Kong Sports Institute said in a statement.

Feeling bad in the locker room after a training session in Florida, and was taken to the hospital where he died on Monday night. He was undergoing a three-month training program with the Gator Swim Club at the University of Florida.

"The Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) was deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of elite swimmer Kenneth To," a statement said.

"Kenneth was an excellent elite athlete. He was an Elite scholarship athlete at HKSI since August 2016.

"He was extremely popular and loved by his teammates and competitors." Kenneth was known as a truly exceptional, warm, funny, and kind person, his sudden passing is a huge loss for local sports.

"HKSI extends our deepest condolences to Kenneth's family, colleagues and coaches."

The cause of his death was not immediately clear.

The former Sydney Swimmer changed Australian nationality, where he was raised from the age of two and learned the sport, to the land of his birth in 2016, having won a silver medal in Barcelona in 2013 and a gold medal at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games.

The death of Kenneth To (second left) is being lamented by the world of swimming. Photo: Disclosure

To set four long-lasting and nine short-lived records in his first 10 months of swimming to Hong Kong, and held 17 overall when he died.

He first represented Hong Kong at the 2017 World University Games, followed by the Chinese National Games in Tianjin, where he won a silver medal with Chinese star Sun Yang in a joint relay team.

It was the first Hong Kong swimming medal at the Chinese National Games since it made its debut in 1997 after the delivery.

At the Asian Games last year in Jakarta, finished fifth in the final of the 50 meters free and in the 200 meters individual medley.

Kenneth To (center) receives a prize from the Hong Kong Swimming Association in 2018. Photo: Disclosure

"I mean it's a memorable experience," To said after receiving a prize for notable achievements from the Hong Kong Swimming Association in May 2018. "Every month I ran and every competition I went to is another highlight of my swimming career.

"Swimming in Australia was getting to the point of being a bit repetitive and did not satisfy me in terms of race opportunity and improvement.

"Back to Hong Kong gave me a second chance and a new perspective on swimming and swimming in my life. The National Games were exceptional as I ran in front of a big crowd cheering for you."

At the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics in Singapore, to break into the international scene, taking home six medals – one gold in the 4 × 100m medley relay, three silver and two bronze.

Four years later, in Glasgow, she won two medals for Australia at the Commonwealth Games – one gold as a 4 × 100m freestyle swimmer and one silver as a breast swimmer in the 4 × 100m medley relay.

However, a back injury hampered his progress and after meeting his girlfriend at the 2015 World Cup in Hong Kong, he decided to return to the place of his birth.

"I enjoy every moment in Hong Kong, and I am very happy to represent Hong Kong at the highest level," he said last year.

This article was first published in the South China Morning Post.

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