Surf lifesavers were kept on their toes during the rescue of up to 60 people due to adverse surf conditions during the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic.
Surf lifesavers were kept on their toes during the rescue of up to 60 people due to adverse surf conditions during the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic. Marc Stapelberg

Juniors finish tough Ocean Classic

WHILE the Byron Bay Winter Whales Ocean Swim Classic senior event was cancelled due to rough surf and strong rips, more than 350 children and beginner swimmers braved the conditions in the junior event.

As they took to the water on Sunday at Clarkes Beach and headed south to Main Beach, some struggled with the conditions and were forced to withdraw.

Surf lifesavers went to the aid of several swimmers and a handful of registered participants chose not to swim at all.

Bizzy Butterworth, 41, of Melbourne travelled to Byron Bay specifically for the senior event and saw the junior swim take place. On Sunday, she told The Northern Star many children in the junior event had to be rescued.

"At the end of their race I saw quite a few kids looking emotional and upset," she said.

"One kid got swept 60 metres down shore when he tried to get out at the end of the race."

However, the majority of junior swimmers finished the course without assistance.

The 800-metre race was open to people nine years old and over and medals were awarded for the first boy and girl for each year up to 12. It was also open to adults who did not want to take part in the 2.2km senior event.

After the junior swim, about 600 swimmers embarked on the senior course, even though the event was officially called off.

Byron Bay Winter Whales Ocean Swim Classic management will not re-schedule this year's senior swim.

After the junior swim, about 600 swimmers embarked on the senior course, even though the event was officially called off.



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