The iconic Rottnest Channel Swim, which takes place in February each year, was forced to remove a large number of competitors from the water in 2018 because of a shark sighting. Nevertheless, demand for a slot when entries open on Monday is expected to be high.
The 19.7km swim from Cottesloe Beach in Perth, Australia, to Rottnest Island attracts soloists, duos and teams from around the world. At this year’s event, all swimmers within a 1km radius of the shark sighting were required to abandon the swim and leave the water. The disruption led to several additional safety measures recently being announced for next year’s Rottnest Channel Swim, including a dedicated event helicopter. Swimmers who were affected by the evacuation have been given guaranteed entries for 2019, in advance of the official entry opening time. The shark incident doesn’t appear to have put them off, as 150 teams and duos have already signed up.
One such pair, Marcelle Cannon and Beth Hearle, who will be taking on Rottnest for the seventh time, even decided to rename their team as ‘Shark Bait’.
Rottnest Channel Swim solo entries open at 8.30am WST on Monday 22 October. Entries for teams and duos will then open at 8.30am WST on Wednesday 31 October on a first in, first served basis.
Image: Ryan Duell with his bunny-eared support crew from Rottnest 2017