Champion swimmers prepare for open ocean challenge on Australia Day

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Swimmers will race at Champion Bay from 7.30am on Australia Day for the Champion Bay Challenge.
Camera IconSwimmers will race at Champion Bay from 7.30am on Australia Day for the Champion Bay Challenge. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

The Champion Bay Surf Lifesaving Club is gearing up for its annual Australia Day swim meet, with organisers hopeful of a strong turnout.

Registrations for last year’s Champion Bay Challenge were marred by an influx of stingers along the Geraldton coast, but local swimmers say the ocean pests haven’t caused much of an issue so far this summer.

Champion Bay SLSC president Peter Nelson said he was expecting 70 to 80 swimmers from as far as Perth to register for the competition.

“Because the pool is closed, there are quite a lot of people who have been swimming in the ocean,” he said.

“That’s giving added confidence to people who might not have swum in the ocean before and not done the Champion Bay Challenge Swim.

“We are expecting a few extras out of that crew.”

Online registrations for the event close January 25 at 5pm, but people can sign up on the day for a 1km, 3km or 6km course starting at 7.30am.

A 500m swim is open to juniors up to 12 years old.

Local swimmer Jason Potts will be out to defend his title in the 6km course after winning last year’s event ahead of Nick Adam.

Mr Nelson said the event used to attract a greater number of swimmers from Perth who planned to do the Rottnest Swim.

But with the Rottnest Swim now requiring solo swimmers to complete a 10km qualifier, ocean-goers were instead choosing to compete in other competitions around WA.

He hoped talks of building a new jetty in Geraldton would make way for a longer race similar to Busselton’s.

The surf club is running a kids’ beach party as part of the Champion Bay Challenge, with a free sausage sizzle and waterslide by the foreshore.

“It will be a bit of a last hurrah, not knowing what will happen after February 5 with COVID,” Mr Nelson said.

To register, visit

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails