IT’S one of the most recognisable jetties in Australia and the iconic Busselton Jetty will again be a feature of the 2024 Australian Open Water Championships and OceanSwim Festival.
Busselton, some 220km southwest of Perth, was today announced as host of the first major Australian-based swimming event of the year from January 24-27.
The event, proudly supported by the Western Australian Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, funded by Royalties for Regions, and the City of Busselton, will attract hundreds of swimmers and friends of the swimming community.
Proud West Australian and Dolphin #828 Kyle Lee said Busselton was one of the most picturesque places in the world to both compete in ocean swimming and watch.
Lee, who anchored the 4x1500m mixed relay team that won bronze at the World Championships in Fukuoka, said: “It’s a special place to swim and for me, it’s home and it’s just so stunning.”
“The water is crystal clear and flat, usually a good temperature for racing, spectators can watch the whole race from the jetty which is pretty great.
“The whole four days has a great atmosphere and while the racing is always competitive there’s also a lot of camaraderie. There are events for everyone to swim, music and food trucks … it’s a lot of fun.”
For the second year running, the event blends high-performance racing with the community focused OceanSwim races on January 26, attracting elite athletes and hundreds of amateur swimming enthusiasts.
A variety of distances are on offer for the community swim, including 500m, 1.25km, 2.5km, 5km, 7.5km and 10km options, with registrations to be taken right up to race time.
Spectators attending the Ocean Swim Festival will also be treated to a number of onshore activities across the four days, including music and entertainment for kids, a night market and other activities.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Rita Saffioti said: “We’re very excited to be supporting the Ocean Swim Festival once again as it returns to Western Australia for another year of exciting races and events in beautiful Busselton.
“Busselton’s pristine beachfront with its sparkling blue water and iconic jetty provide the perfect place to stage this event, which will bring visitors from all over the nation, supporting local accommodation providers, hospitality businesses, and jobs.
“With flights from Melbourne flying into Busselton three times a week, on what is proving to be a popular route, it’s never been easier for visitors from Australia’s east coast to travel to WA’s South West.”
Regional Development Minister Don Punch said: “The Ocean Swim Festival is a fantastic event that will drive economic growth in South West WA, and we’re proud to be supporting it through our Regional Events Program.
“Events like this allow us to showcase our beautiful State as a world-class sporting destination, while diversifying the economy and creating local jobs in the regions.”
Comments attributed to South West MLC Jackie Jarvis:
“We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to Busselton next year to explore the South West’s beautiful forests, pristine beaches, countless attractions and experiences, and world-class culinary and wine offerings.
“These types of events always create a fantastic atmosphere in the community, so I encourage locals to head down and check it out as well.”
Swimming Australia interim CEO Steve Newman said: “This event in WA has quickly become one of the highlights of the swimming calendar and is the perfect way to welcome in 2024.”
“To have all levels of the swimming community – from elites through to amateurs all competing in such a pristine and wonderful environment – is really, really special.
“And the West Australian Government, Tourism Western Australia, and the people of Busselton do a wonderful job on making everyone feel welcome.”
CEO of Swimming WA Sophie Row added: “Swimming WA is excited to welcome back this unique event to Busselton.”
“Open water swimming holds a special place in Western Australia’s swimming DNA, thanks to our state’s pristine waters and beautiful climate.
“As the host of Australia’s largest open water swim series, Swimming WA is well-positioned to assist Swimming Australia in presenting another outstanding event for both our elite athletes and the wider swimming community.
“We’re eagerly anticipating the opportunity to once again partner with Swimming Australia, Tourism WA and the City of Busselton to bring this fantastic event to life.”
City of Busselton Mayor Phill Cronin said “The City is delighted to again host Australia’s leading Open Water Swim. If the clean white beaches and calm turquoise waters are not enough, the Busselton jetty makes for an amazing spectators platform.”
Entries for this event are now open for both the Championship events as well as the OceanSwim community events, via the Swimming Australia events page.