Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The 10 greatest ocean swimming icons...

Everyone would have a different view on this and much of that would depend on what part of the country you live in and how many swims you’ve done. My list has been compiled from swims I’ve done (5 of the 10) and from what I’ve read about the other swims. I suppose it takes into account a whole lot of factors including the course (very important), how many people do the swim each year, how long it has been going for and its historical significance.

1. Rottnest Channel Swim
2. The Big Swim - Palm to Whale Beach
3. Cole Classic, Manly
4. Pier to Pub, Lorne
5. Bondi to Bronte
6. Dawny Cockatoo Island Classic
7. Busselton Jetty Swim, WA
8. Swim Thru Perth, Barrack St Jetty to Matilda Bay
9. Byron Bay
10. Magnetic Island Townsville

Brett McCarthy


  1. I've done 6 of those 10 you have mentioned Brett . The only other one I would include is the Forster Club to Club . The 4km distance requires a little more training but the reefs and sea life are beautiful. Also if you are planing a holiday to Hawaii try to fit it in with the Waikiki Roughwater 3.8km swim . My favorite one by far .

  2. Hi,
    All great swims, I have managed 6 of the 10 and with 4 of them about 10 times.
    Add to the list:
    Waikiki Roughwater Swim
    South Head Roughwater Swim- Bondi Beach to Watsons Bay. This is one of the most challenging on the calendar if as a relay, duo or solo.
    Denise Elder

  3. Wedding Cake Island @ Coogee would have to be a contender...

  4. Anyone who has been involved in Rotto could not leave it out... the other side of Wedding Cake Island... The State of Origin of ocean swimming at Byron Bay, particularly Friday, Saturday and Monday (Sunday merely is the catalyst for the culcha)... The Big Swim (Palm Beach to Whale Beach) into a sou'-easterly...

    Swimming to the Opera House (Sydney Harbour)... South Head in Sydney (bobbing around alone, a kilometre at sea in a 4m swell, and the boat has gone inshore to collect Glistening Dave)...

    Noosa has the potential (from Ti Tree Bay) but has been plagued by weather... Waikiki with its currents (we haven't done it)... Maui Channel (another we haven't done)... Alcatraz - whose eyes don't glaze with awe at the prospect of doing what 30 years of prisoners couldn't, as far as we know...

    English Channel (haven't done it)... Lorne? big swim, lots of people, not much to it, apart from the fishermen hanging up caught sharks by swim start...

    Pier to Perignon (world's most stunning real estate, if you breathe to the left, swept along by an outgoing tide emptying Port Phillip Bay)... Stanwell Park, under the glare of the mountains (if you breathe left)... South West Rocks, Lord Ron and the Riverside Tavern... Tweed River, on the deck at the Riverview Hotel and James T (ex Canned Heat) and his blues/rock band on post-swim afternoon...

    Busselton Jetty looks a cracker... Auckland Harbour... Around Manhattan?... Dee Why to Curl Curl (informal swim best done in winter)... Cronulla to Gunnamatta Bay (all kinds of open water in one swim)...

  5. Cockatoo Island, amidst Sydney's maritime/industrial/political heritage... On the grass at Bilgola... Icon swims or favourite for their contribution to ocean swimming culcha?

  6. I would like to see Mr OS.c's alma mater Caves Beach added to any top ten list too. Where else can you pick up a wave on a bombie about 300m out and half way around the course? Not to mention the free apre race barbie and band. Legendary!

    On the subject of alma maters and bombies, I just noticed a new event at Black Head on the calender in May. Black Head is a bit of a Love family alma mater and has a bombie out in front of the middle of the bay to boot. Other wise known as Halliday's Point, it's like a miniaturised version of Crescent Head; not quite as good a surf spot as Cresso, but still has great point potential in decent sized south-southeast swell. Still a few Loves livin around there. I'm excited about this one. Hope it's a ripper!

    David Love.

  7. As a pool swimmer I love the flat ones (bloody Mollymook - never again in those conditions). So hands up for the Sydney Harbour swim, even though the bity things (not sharks, but jellyfish larvae)cause itchy welts (bather's eruption) for weeks after. Byron is my absolute favourite and next year I might get up the guts to join you.

  8. I reckon the Busselton swim is the best. I've swam all over the world. Busselton is a great place and the swim is iconic: 2km out to sea round the jetty and back. Clean, warm water. The trophies are pieces of Jarrah from the original jetty. Magic

  9. Buesselton is tops for me. Is that THE Brett McCarthy, editor of The West Australian, per chance? Twitter: @prlab


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