Five and a half thousand swimmers will compete in the Lorne Pier to Pub this weekend, marking the 40th anniversary of the iconic and largest open water swim in the world.
Open to swimmers aged 12 and above, the diverse pack competitors will tackle the 1.2km course on Saturday at 11:45am, starting at the Lorne Pier and finishing on the foreshore in front of the Lorne Surf Lifesaving Club house.
Following the 1.2km age group race, a special ‘Superfish’ category takes to the water, with a select group of fast-paced swimmers battling it out for prize money and the coveted title. Past winners include Olympian Kieren Perkins, seven-time winner Sam Sheppard and six-time winners Naatalli Marshall and Harriet Brown.
In a stacked men’s and women’s field this year, there are many household names to keep an eye on including Olympic gold medallist Mack Horton, two-time reigning champions Lani Pallister and Hayden Cotter as well as Dolphins David McKeon, Kelly Stubbins, Jorden Merrilees David Schlicht and Jack Gerrard.
Superfish director Peter Williamson, who took part in the first Pier to Pub back in 1981 and has been involved in the Surf Lifesaving Club for more than 40 years, said this year’s field is extremely strong.
“This would be the strongest field we have ever had – we have 20 swimmers who swim sub 4:10 long course for 400m freestyle, seven Australian Dolphins in the field as well as a number of junior Australia representatives,” he said.
“In the men’s field we have Hayden Cotter, last year’s winner and 5km open water champion, Mack Horton, Olympic gold medallist in the 400m freestyle and Harry Cain, a gold medallist in surf.
“The in the women’s field Lani Pallister is a red hot favourite, but she still has to beat Harriet Brown and Naatalli Marshall, who have both won the Pier to Pub six times.
“The Pier to Pub is a fantastic test of three swimming disciplines – open water, pool and surf swimming – and depending on the conditions on the day, it really influences which type of swimmer will have the advantage.”
The race marks one of Swimming Australia’s marquee Australia Swims events, so for everyone who jumps in the water, make sure you commit the distance you swim to the Australia Swims challenge! For more information, click here.
In addition to the official races, seven-time Pier to Pub winner Sam Sheppard and Brenton Ford from ‘Effortless Swimming’, will conduct two iSwim Live Sets on Friday to give swimmers expert race tips on the iconic course. While these sessions have sold out for participants, onlookers can still head down and watch.
What: Powercor Lorne Pier to Pub
When: Saturday 11 January at 11:45am
What: Powercor Lorne Mountain to Surf
When: Friday 10 January at 8:30am
Photos courtesy of the Lorne Pier to Pub.