A RECORD 248 eager swimmers entered calm waters for round 9 of Swimming WA’s Open Water Swimming Series in Alkimos on Sunday.
The annual event included four competitive races – 500m, 1.25km, 2.5km and 5km.
The first male across the line for the 5km swim was Jack Wilson (16) from the under-18 category, who finished the ocean water challenge in 55 min 24 sec.
He was followed closely by last year’s winner Kieren Pollard (competing in the open category) who finished in 55 min 28 sec.
Swimming a personal best on the day, Jack said the conditions were almost perfect.
“It wasn’t too windy and the water was good,” he said.
“I was pretty happy with my time which was a personal best.”
The Woodvale Secondary College student recently returned from the Australian Open Water Swimming Championships where he finished 10th overall in the 5km time trial and second in the 7.5km ocean swimming race.
Despite having a talent for the open water, Jack does all his training in the pool.
“I currently train nine times a week for two hours at each training session,” he said.
“I’ve been swimming since I was about seven years old and got serious about it when I was 13.
“My next event is the national championships in Sydney in April where I’ll compete in the pool in the 1500m and 400m freestyle events.”
Tia Donovan (16) won the 5km women’s race in 1 hr 5 min 16 sec ahead of runner up Lillyan Rosich.
“It was really good, a great day and really enjoyable,” Tia said.
“I was very happy with my swim and got a personal best.”
Tia, like Jack, trains mainly in the pool eight times a week but loves open water swimming and competes in all open water events whenever she can.
“I really like the freedom of swimming in the ocean,” she said.
“You don’t have to turn all the time and you get to swim with the pack.
“It’s really fun and the conditions are so changeable.
“Sometimes you really have to push through the conditions and you get to the end and you are very proud of what you have achieved.”
Tia, who is currently studying for a Certificate III in event management, will compete in her first Rottnest Channel Swim on February 24.
“It’s my first Rotto swim and I’m competing in a duo – I’m really excited about it and really nervous at the same time,” the Swan View resident said.
In the 2.5km swim, seconds separated first and second place with Kieren Jon Lawerson taking out the title.
Travis Kelly won the 1.25km swim in 17 min 3 sec.
Lawerson and Kelly are both aged above 35 and competed in the legends category for the event.
Supported by Peet Limited’s Shorehaven at Alkimos estate for the third year running, the event also attracted hundreds of families, supporters and spectators to Waterfront Park.