Competitors taking part in last year’s Winter Whales ocean swim. More than 2000 people are expected to take part in this year’s event which gets underway in Byron Bay this weekend.
Competitors taking part in last year’s Winter Whales ocean swim. More than 2000 people are expected to take part in this year’s event which gets underway in Byron Bay this weekend.

Competitors set to make a splash

THE ocean is cooling down again and the entries are running thick for one of Byron Bay’s favourite events – The Beach Hotel Ocean Swim Classic presented by Winter Whales.

The 22nd running – or swimming – of the iconic event is to be staged this coming Sunday and prospective contestants are urged to get their entries in.

The 2.2km open water swim from Wategos to main Beach will again be supported by the 800m Mini Swim which serves to introduce athletes to the concept of the event.

This year more than 2000 swimmers are expected to swim on the day including Trent Grimsey, who will be aiming for a three-peat of back-to-back victories, and Melissa Gorman who is shooting for a fifth win in six years.

But the event is open to all entrants aged 12 and upwards for the Classic and nine and upwards for the Mini Swim.

Internationals and swimmers from all over Australia will again be on hand to ensure that the competition is fierce, while hundreds of social swimmers will be involved as well.

Organisers have taken the step of banning hi-tech swimsuits similar to those which caused mass debate at last years swimming World Championships.

The ruling states that swimmers, to be eligible for prizes, must wear only conventional costumes – briefs for men, one or two-piece for women, with no coverage of arms or legs except for rash shirts, and no buoyancy devices.

Thousands of dollars in cash and prizes will again be up for grabs, including lucky door prizes which include overseas trips to Vanuatu and Fiji.

But as has always been the aim of Winter Whales, much of the proceeds from the event will go to charities.

More than $300,000 has been donated on behalf of the organisers and competitors over the years and the ruling cohort intends to maintain that tradition.

One thing that has changed for the Classic is the athlete entry procedure.

The facility for swimmers to enter on the day is no longer – no entries can be taken on race weekend.

Postal entries close on Thursday May 29; on-line entries close at midnight on Friday 30th; and in person entries will be taken at Byron Bay Surf Club from 3-5pm on Friday 30th.

Enquiries to Syl Reid on 0421155600.



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