Heading Up Down Under - Top 10 Open Water Swims In Australia

Heading Up Down Under – Top 10 Open Water Swims In Australia

Margot Shave of The Australian researched some telling statistics in cooperation with Paul Ellercamp of OceanSwims, the authoritative online resource for open water swimming in Australia and one of the leading English-language open water swimming websites in the world.

In New South Wales, the growing popularity of ocean swims is in the number: from 17 events and about 3,000 swimmers to 81 events and 17,643 swimmers in 2009 with an estimated 35,000 ocean swimmers nationwide in Australia.

Paul explains that the larger population of ocean swimmers participate in the sport it for the experience. “The heart and soul of ocean swimming is the rank-and-file, not the winners. Everyone has their own story and for many people swimming is a vehicle for that story. People can do it when they get old – we’ve even got 90-year-olds in ocean swimming. We are finding runners are turning to swimming after their knees wear out..”

The top ten ocean swims in Australia based on the number of competitors include the following:

1. Cole Classic from Shelly to Manly in Sydney with 4,000 competitors over two events
2. nib Lorne Pier to Pub in Lorne, Victoria with 3,500 swimmers
3. Rottnest Channel Swim in Western Australia with 1,900 swimmers, mostly in teams
4. The Big Swim from Palm Beach to Whale Beach in Sydney with 1,800 entrants
5. North Bondi Classic in Sydney with 1,800 swimmers over two swims
6. Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic with 1,700 swimmers
7. Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim in Sydney with 1,600 competitors
8. Portsea Swim Classic in Victoria with 1,500 swimmers
9. Coogee to Bondi Ocean Swim in Sydney with 1,500 swimmers.
10. Rip View Swim Classic in Point Lonsdale, Victoria with 1,350 swimmers

According to Margot, there are 193 ocean swimming events in Australia scheduled for 2010-11 with 81 in New South Wales, 41 in Victoria, 35 in Western Australia, 17 in Queensland, 11 in South Australia and 8 in Tasmania that comprise of 72% men and 28% women.

However, this statistic does not include the many other open water swims held in rivers and lakes. All in all, the grassroots support of the sport is alive and well and heading upwards from the bottom up Down Under – a trend that is being replicated in country after country on every continent.*

* Even three swimmers – Lynne Cox, Lewis Pugh and Ram Barkai – have done traditional open water swims in Antarctica.

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