Friday, January 15, 2010

Open Water Swimming In Oceania

What a better place for open water swimming than Oceania.

The 2010 Oceania Swimming Championships 5K and 10K races will be held in Faleausiu on the island of Upolu in Samoa in June. But there are an incredible array of open water swimming opportunities - competitive, solo and relays - throughout the region.

Previously, the 5K and 10K races have been held in Brisbane, Australia (1998), Noumea, New Caledonia (2002), Suva, Fiji (2004) and Cairns, Australia (2006) with swimmers from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, American Samoa, Hawaii, Northern Marianas and Tahiti competing in the Championships.

The inaugural Oceania Masters Swimming Championships 5K race was held in Fiji in 2005. A 5km open water event is included on the Championships program.

The quadrennial South Pacific Games includes a 5K race since it was first introduced in the 1999 Games in Guam with swimmers from New Caledonia, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, American Samoa, Northern Marianas and Tahiti taking part.

The Micronesian Games, originally started in 1969 in Saipan, holds a 3K race where athletes from the northern Pacific region (Micronesia, Guam, Palau, Northern Marianas, Nauru and Kiribati) compete. A 3K race was held for the first time at the 2006 Games. The 2010 Micronesian Games will be hosted by Palau.

The biennial Arafura Games are held every two years in Darwin, Australia is billed as a meeting of "Sporting Neighbours" and attracts competitors from all parts of Australia, nations throughout the Asia Pacific and beyond. Participation had soared to more than 3,000 athletes representing 32 nations with competition in 30 sports including 5K and 10K races.

In addition to the international championships, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji hold their own annual national open water swimming championships. The Australian Masters Games also includes 5K and 10K races.

And there are hundreds of informal and formal races including the 3K Cocos Island Crossing in Guam, the 3K Saipan Ocean Swim in Northern Marianas:, the 3-day open water Fiji Swims festival, the swims of the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series and the Pacific Swims in Fiji and Vanuatu and everything in Australia from the Cole Classic to the Rottnest Channel Swim

According to the sport's leading authorities in Oceania (including FINA Bureau Liaison Dennis Miller of Fiji, Chris Guesdon of Australia and John West of New Zealand, "...despite a limitation of resources (both human and financial), a concerted push to recognize open water swimming as a part of regional and continental aquatic events has seen an increased profile for the discipline in recent years."

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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