Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic
The delightful coastal town of Byron Bay is renowned around the globe for its beautiful natural scenery marked by its location nestled up against the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean. While in summer this area is brimming with tourists, it's a playground for athletes during autumn, when swimmers take to the water to practise for the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic
About the Classic
The Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic has been running each year since 1988. It serves as a fundraiser for local organisations, but it also has the goal of introducing people interested in swimming to this vitalizing sport. The Classic, which is sponsored by Byron Bay Property Sales, stretches about 2.5 kilometres and spans the waters from Wategos Beach to Main Beach. It's open to all swimmers ages 12 and older, and competitors must complete the race in under 90 minutes. The course is buoyed to guide participants around The Pass and toward the finishing point. The Classic is actually the first of five matches in the Great Australian Swim Series, and winners go on to swim in round two: the Gold Coast competition.
This annual event also features the Mini Swim, a shorter course of only 800 kilometres intended for children ages 9 and older. Sponsored by Ky Hurst, was first introduced in 2008 as a way to attract young swimmers to the activity, and it lets kids take part in a low-intensity match from Clarkes Beach to Main Beach without time limitations. The Mini Swim takes place just before the Classic competition.
How to Compete
While the Classic is open to all swimmers age 12 and older, participants must be physically capable of completing 2.5 kilometres in under 90 minutes. The event is meant to be an individual competition, and those who are accompanied by a child or partner won't be eligible for a prize or chance to go on to the Great Australian Swim Series. Swimmers must wear their assigned caps and electronic tags while in the water. Participants are allowed to use swimming aids, such as flotation devices and snorkels; however, those who do will be disqualified from earning a prize or spot among the official winners.
Those interested in taking part must submit an entry form - entries open on January 1st, 2015. The entry fee in 2014, which included a T-shirt, timing device usage and swim cap, was $65 for adults ages 16 to 74 and $25 for participants 12 to 15 years old. Anyone 75 or older can compete for free, and families of two adults and two children get a discounted rate of $150 (2014 price). On the day of the race, competitors must check in by 9 a.m., an hour before the race begins.
Winners PrizesWhile those who place at the top of the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic get the chance to move on in the Great Australian Swim Series, there are other prizes that encourage the participants to swim their fastest. The prizes are divided by men's and women's opens, with the top three of each category winning a monetary award: the first-place winner takes home $850, while second-place gets $400 and third-place receives $300. Youngsters in the Mini Swim don't go home empty-handed, either - first-place swimmers in each age group (9, 10, 11 and 12) are adorned with a medal. There are also lucky draw prizes awarded at the presentation ceremony after the swim.
As a fundraising event, the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic works to raise money as well as awareness of worthwhile organisations in the area. Competitors can take satisfaction in knowing that all of the fees they pay for entry in the race go toward local charities. The recipients change by the year, but 2014's beneficiaries included the Byron Bay Surf Club, Westpac Helicopter Rescue, Salvation Army, Saint John Ambulance and Marine Rescue. Research programmes and institutions dedicated to finding treatment for breast and prostate cancer also received funding.
Another notable organisation that benefited from the 2014 swim was Camp Quality, a non-profit run by volunteers that provides children suffering from cancer with a little joy through week-long camping trips. Since the Classic first started more than a quarter of a century ago, it has raised about $590,000 for a wide variety of charities.
Accommodation in Byron Bay
When planning to travel to Byron Bay to attend the swim competition there are numerous places to stay that will fit your budget and your luxury requirements. For example, Byron Bay holiday homes feature spacious living quarters great for the family at a fair price. If you plan on competing, you'll want to find a place to stay near Byron Bay so that you can relax the night before the race starts.
This swim competition is a marvelous event for swimmers and spectators to participate in. No matter what age or skill level, there is an opportunity for everyone, and supporters are always welcome to cheer on their loved ones.