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Ocean Swimming Season Hits Its Straps

By Marcus Braid on December 11, 2015 in News

Photo: Cameron Spencer

Photo: Cameron Spencer

Eastern Beaches ocean swimming groups are gearing up for a summer chock-full of events for swimmers of all capabilities.

Andre Slade from OceanFit, a group specialising in ocean and open water swimming, said the attitude of new participants is crucial when it comes to immersing themselves in the sport.

“Most people turn up with this idea that the ocean is just a place that wants to kill them,” he said. “Rips want to drown them and waves want to dump them, and that’s the kind of attitude they come in with.

“What we do is we turn that around and say ‘the ocean is your friend, and if you know what it’s doing then you can use it to your advantage’. It actually becomes a really easy place to swim.”

Mr Slade pointed to an upward trend in ocean swimming participation across the board, which is matched by a wide array of events across Sydney this summer.

“With training, there’s a bigger spread towards females, who are more likely to realise they don’t have the skills and knowledge, and then go and look for that training. Guys just think they know everything.”

The ocean swimming season gets under way with the Bondi Splash N’ Dash on November 21 and the Coogee Island Challenge on November 29, which has a 2.4-kilometre main course. The Bondi to Bronte Ocean Swim will take place on December 6, which also has a 2.4-kilometre main course.

“The most popular ocean swims at the moment are the junior swims, so the Bondi to Bronte, the Coogee Island Swim, and up to the Big Swim from Palm Beach to Whale Beach,” Mr Slade said.

“The Cole Classic in Manly (on February 7) is still by far the most popular, though, especially in this part of the country. It’s got such a big name.”

While the Cole Classic is billed as Australia’s largest ocean swimming event, the local swims are definitely vying for the title.

“The Bondi to Bronte is growing, and the North Bondi Roughwater is really popular in Bondi,” Mr Slade said. “It’s just about the right timing. Any of the swims at the end of January and the beginning of February are probably the most popular.”

Zoe Little from 4 SEAsons Swim, an ocean swim training group based out of Bondi Beach, said they have around 50 to 60 people in their group.

“It’s a sport that covers all ages and all levels of fitness. It’s very accessible to people if they’re prepared to get out of the pool and into the ocean,” she said.

Over on the north side of the bridge, the Big Swim Series will start in December with the Bilgola Ocean Swim on Sunday, December 13. The Bilgola swim will be followed by Newport on January 3, Avalon on January 17, and Mona Vale on January 24. These are all 1.5 to 2-kilometre events that lead up to the three-kilometre Big Swim from Palm Beach to Whale Beach on January 31.

For more information about the entire Sydney summer ocean swimming calendar, visit