Over 2,300 swimmers, 1,000 paddlers, 750 escort boat pilots and 5,500 support crew will take to the seas for this weekend's 19.2K WAtoday Rottnest Channel Swim.
The field includes professional swimmers, ex-Olympians, international competitors and local community members who will participate in the solo race, the 2-person duo category, the 4-person team category and the 4-person Lavan Legal Charity Challenge.
The solo swimmers will start at 6:45 am from Cottesloe Beach, followed by the duos and teams. Everyone will head towards Rottnest Island which is off of Fremantle on Western Australia's southwest coast. Under expected good conditions, the first competitors are expected to arrive at Thomson Bay between 10:30am and 11:00am.
The armada of boats, kayaks, support crew, media and swimmers - and the incredible organization behind this grand spectacle - make this event one of the greatest open water swimming events in the world.
We wish good luck and safe swimming to all.
There was a much smaller armada when Chloe McCardel of Melbourne attempted her unprecedented 51K triple-crossing of the Rottnest Channel earlier this month. Unfortunately, 25-35 knot winds and strong currents got the better of Chloe 5K from Rottnest Island near the end of the second crossing 11 hours into her swim.
"[Chloe] was still swimming very strong, her spirits were up, but the conditions were outside of her control," said Don Crellin who was on her support boat. Her crew expected strong winds - forecasted for 15 knots - which Chloe had hoped would have assisted her on her third and final leg. "She has plenty in the tank, but she couldn't break through the winds and the currents."