THE introduction of a shortcourse swim 12 months ago has resulted in a rise in Shipwreck Coast Swim Series’ longcourse competitors.
The series’ three legs at Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Port Campbell range from 1.2 kilometres to 1.4km.
Series committee member Jon Watson said the short-distance novice swims proved popular in their first year and had attracted more interest this year.
“I think the shortcourse helps get people some confidence — 1.4 kilometres is daunting for some,” he said.
“I know people who last year did the 500 metres and are this year doing the bigger ones because they feel up for it.
“The shortcourse swims are a good start for swimming club members to get started in ocean swimming.”
Watson said open water swimming was growing in popularity.
“I swim as part of a regular Saturday morning group which swims from the surf lifesaving club and our numbers are certainly growing,” he said. “I think there is good camaraderie among people who do it.”
The Shipwreck Coast Swim Series, which is an initiative between three surf lifesaving clubs, starts in Warrnambool on December 29 with the Tony Ryan Memorial leg.
Port Fairy hosts the Moyneyana Ocean leg on January 4 and the series culminates with the Port Campbell 12 Apostles Plunge on January 18.
“Warrnambool is the longest and you feel you are going out into deep water because it runs almost to the breakwater,” Watson said.
“Port Fairy is a shallower and shorter swim but conditions are quite often not favourable and Port Campbell is the most feared of all the swims. Hence why it’s good to have it as the last swim.”
Warrnambool talent Isaac Jones is expected to compete in at least one of the legs.
Jones represented Australia at the FINA world junior championships this year, collecting a 4x200m silver medal. All three swims start at 11am.