Hundreds commit to Albany Harbour Swim and Southern Ocean Classic Mile in Denmark

Taj StubberAlbany Advertiser
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Rottnest swim winner Andrew Donaldson
Camera IconRottnest swim winner Andrew Donaldson Credit: Jarrad Seng / Aussies in Action

Two big ocean swims will be held in the region this weekend as swimmers are set to get back into the water.

The Albany Harbour Swim is expected to attract more than 100 swimmers while 150 swimmers are poised to hit the water at Sunday’s Sunsmart Southern Ocean Classic Mile in Denmark.

Both events have not been held the past two years, in 2019 both were cancelled due to rough conditions while COVID-19 put a stop to last years event.

As usual, the two ocean swims will be held in the region on the Easter weekend and support has already been strong, with 77 nominations for the Albany Harbour Swim.

Rottnest Channel swim winner Andrew Donaldson is entered for both events, while former Rottnest winners Paul Laver and Jarrad Lawford are also entered for the Southern Ocean Classic Mile.

Albany Surf Life Saving Club will again host the Albany Harbour Swim, in its 20th year, as competitors hit the water at 7.30am on Saturday.

The 4km race starts at Princess Royal Sailing Club and swimmers will cross Princess Royal Harbour, finishing at Peace Park.

Swimmers can swim the whole 4km or can make teams of two for a 2km relay or teams of four a 1km relay.

Paraplegic Kenny McGonnell is assisted from the water after finishing the 2018 Albany Harbour Swim by Micheal Stephen and Dave Brenzi.
Camera IconParaplegic Kenny McGonnell is assisted from the water after finishing the 2018 Albany Harbour Swim by Micheal Stephen and Dave Brenzi. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

ASLC president Sarah Bowles said she was looking forward to the event.

“The Harbour Swim is a great tradition and a highlight on the State open water swimming calendar,” she said.

“Many visitors make the trip south at Easter for the swim as a pair with the Southern Ocean Classic Mile, which is run by the Denmark Surf Life Saving Club, so it brings visitors to the wider Region.

“The swim is a great event to train towards and helps build our Club’s skill and capacity; particularly for our younger members.

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for the wider public to enjoy a social swim with friends.

“Many form teams of four and make the most of the support provided by the Club and volunteers to join in this iconic event.”

There will be hot soup for swimmers after the race.

The annual Sunsmart Southern Ocean Classic Mile will be held on Sunday morning at Ocean Beach in Denmark.

More than 150 swimmers are expected to tackle the 1.6km course, with 100 already registered.

The swim starts at 10am on Sunday and competitors can register on the day.

The start of the Southern Ocean Classic Mile in Denmark a few years ago.
Camera IconThe start of the Southern Ocean Classic Mile in Denmark a few years ago. Credit: Laurie Benson

Nicole Hodgson said she expected it to be close to the biggest field ever.

“We are all very excited to hold the race again after two years off,” she said.

“We’ve got a long list of first-time swimmers, and so we are now crossing our fingers that the weather is perfect on Easter Sunday, and that we don’t get the howling easterlies that we’ve had all summer.

“Because this is a short race, 1600m, we definitely expect a close race between all the fastest swimmers.

“Often it can come down to who navigates the waves the best, and can catch a wave in to shore.

“There are lots of big names in the men’s race this year.

“The 2021 winner of the Rottnest Channel Swim, Andrew Donaldson, who is a bit of a regular at the SunSmart Southern Ocean Classic is swimming.

“There’s not as many big names entered in the women’s event so far, but we expect that to change by race day.

“The most notable thing about the women’s race is the number of local swimmers from Denmark and Walpole who have entered the race for the first time, and facing their fears about ocean swimming.”

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