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The Big Swim

Event details
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Thought to be New South Wales longest continuing running ocean swim with its first start in 1974, THE BIG SWIM presented by the Whale Beach Surf Lifesaving Club in association with Macquarie is a journey swim, not around the buoys in a bay, or up and down a beach outside the break but a true ocean swim, from Palm Beach to Whale Beach around the headland through the Tasman Sea.

Held on the last Sunday of January each year with a distance of 2.5 - 2.8 km, it is known as THE BIG SWIM because it is BIG. Conditions vary from dead calm to testing south-easterly or uncomfortable nor'easter’s which can arrive early in summer with swells from all directions making for challenging swimming when you breathe to the left.

How to enter the The Big Swim

  1. The Big Swim

    Swim 2.8km
    AUD $30–AUD $45
    Event passed
  2. The Little Swim

    Swim 1km
    AUD $30–AUD $40
    Event passed
  3. Both Swims (2.8km + 1km)

    Swim 3.8km
    AUD $60–AUD $70
    Event passed

Event Details

Raceday Logistics

Registration from 7.30am for both events, the Big Swim starts off with the Elite group of swimmers at 10.00am.

Kit List

Ruling on Hi-Tech Swimsuits in all divisions / waves except the Fins n Skins division.

Swimmers must wear only conventional swimming costumes made from lycra and/or nylon and/or polyester. Costumes must contain no neoprene or any other "high–tech" material or substance or any material with any flotation support. Male swimmers must wear only briefs with no arms, legs or any part of the costume covering their body above the waist. Female swimmers must wear either one or two piece costumes with no arms or legs. The objective of this rule is to provide a level playing field for swimmers, in which swimmers do not feel the need to use expensive "high–tech" costumes in order to be competitive, and to confirm that wetsuits are not permitted in competition. It does not preclude "rashies" worn for protection from the sun and/or stingers, provided they are not made from neoprene or any other "high–tech" material or substance or any material with any flotation support.


Risk Warning

There is an inherent risk in virtually all sports. It is up to the entrant to assess the risks that may be involved and their own capabilities.

Entrants accept personal responsibility in entering this event (Section 5M Civil Liability Act 2002).

Cooler Water

On several occasions over the past few seasons, Sydney beaches have been affected by cool currents that have brought colder water than we are used to onto our beaches at the time of year at which THE BIG SWIM is held.

In the event of cooler water, Whale Beach SLSC offers this advice from our Honorary Medical Officers…

Reducing the Risk of Hypothermia on The BIG SWIM

If the water temperature on the day is less than 19 
degrees Celsius, wetsuits or rash vests will be allowed. 
Swimmers who wear wetsuits will have their times recorded, but they will not be eligible for prizes in age groups or open categories.

If you would expect to take more than 60 minutes or are prone to becoming cold, a rash vest or wetsuit is very strongly advised. You may wish to bring a second cap (particularly a thick silicone cap) to wear under the race cap.

If concerned during the swim put your hand up; the IRB’s will be carrying space blankets.

At Whale Beach there will medical attention at the Club.

The Big Swim weather forecast

Predicted highs
Predicted lows
IconModerate breeze possible, up to 11mph

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