Ocean challenge ahead for Gnarabup Cup honours

Photo: Tony Warrilow
Photo: Tony Warrilow

The one kilometre Margaret River Ocean Swim will be held once again in Gnarabup Bay on Saturday January 18.

The swim was first held in 2003 and for many since has been their first foray into open water swimming.

The emphasis of the event is fun, personal challenges and having a go with friends and family.

Line honours are recognised with the first man and first woman across the line receiving a prize, however the main prize is awarded to the person who swims closest to their nominated time.

To add to the challenge, people are encouraged to enter under their own creative team name. Teams of four or more swimmers are also encouraged to add their best estimation of finishing time, with the closest guess winning the coveted Gnarabup Cup.

"The Cup was created to create some camaraderie and bragging rights between the many wonderful swimming groups that make the most of our ocean on a daily basis," explained event organiser Charlotte O'Beirne.

Team Swimming Women won in 2019 however Busselton Masters came a very close second and it is anticipated to be a close swim again this year.

"One kilometre for swimmers is comparable to a five kilometre run, and while some people can do this with relative ease, for many completing a one kilometre swim in open water is a real challenge."

The event is a precursor to the Busselton Jetty Swim in February and an opportunity for more experienced open water swimmers to have a fun race.

"My favourite part of the event is seeing the families that come down and take part, mums and dads, aunts and uncles inspiring kids and grandkids to be active and have a go.

"Often people are very nervous at the start and then you see these enormous grins on the finish line.

"I get goose bumps every time."

Participants can swim in flippers, with masks and snorkels or wetsuits.

"What ever gives them the confidence to have a go works for this swim, although line honours will only be awarded to those without swim aids."

Swimming Women has been running free Ocean Skills classes in December and January to help event participants adapt to swimming in the ocean. The final free class is January 13 at 7am.

To have a chance of lifting the Gnarabup Cup, gather at least four friends or work colleagues to enter under your chosen team name. Individual entries are also welcome.

The Margaret River Ocean swim starts at 8am on Saturday 18 January. Registrations online cost $25 and on the day cost $30.

To enter head to www.swimmingwomen.com.au or call Charlotte O'Beirne on 0447698822 for more information.