By Stacey Ryde
Perth’s popular Rottnest Channel Swim will be spread across two days next year, with elite swimmers going head to head in their own race.
The community swim will take place on Saturday the 27th of February and the Champions of the Channel swim will be on Sunday the 28th.
The Champions of the Channel race will be faster-paced, more exciting and a neck and neck race, says the Rottnest Channel Swim Association’s Hayley Chandler.
The event on Sunday will be an exclusive, elite event with a maximum of 100 entries.
The race will follow the same 19.7 kilometre course, but solo swimmers and duos must qualify to enter this exclusive race.
“We are anticipating that most swimmers will be done within five hours, so we don’t have a specific time cut off,” says Mrs Chandler.
The two day event will make a transition into a festival-like experience on Rottnest Island.
“We want to build a festival experience over the weekend, and we’re working with the Rottnest Chamber of Commerce to have a food village, kids’ zone and more entertainment.”
The RCSA is conscious of running an identical event each year, and aims to keep evolving the experience for swimmers and participants.
The Champions of the Channel race will hopefully free up spots for competitors in the main Saturday race.
“Were hoping it will take a bit of pressure off Saturday, as we have a huge over-subscription, with generally 600 swimmers missing out each year,” said Mrs Chandler.
It’s hoped that increased prize money will attract world-class, open water swimmers, with 1st place winning $5,000.
“After completing it last year and coming 4th by only 30 seconds, I’m hoping to get a podium finish but I don’t want to put too much expectation on myself,” said Rottnest Channel swimmer, Caitlyn James.
Miss James said she’s excited about the upcoming event but will likely get nervous on the day from the number of boats and paddlers.
For additional information and to submit an expression of interest visit www.championsofthechannel.com.au