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2024 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships returns to Busselton Foreshore for the second year

Suzanne AstonBusselton Dunsborough Times
Libby Metam, Xavier Collins and  Sophie Row
Camera IconLibby Metam, Xavier Collins and Sophie Row Credit: Suzanne Aston

The conditions were perfect last week when the 2024 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships returned to the Busselton Foreshore.

The competition showcased the country’s top and emerging open water swimming talent over four days and prompted Member for Vasse and Liberal leader Libby Mettam to pledge that she would continue to work to deliver a 50m pool for the region.

Touting the success of the event, Swimming WA chief executive Sophie Row said there was a huge demand for community swimming in Western Australia.

“We have both the experience and expertise, so It made perfect sense for us to incorporate a community event into national championships,” she said.

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The event featuring six distances, accounted for more than half the record number of athletes taking part in the 2024 Australian Open Water Championships and Ocean Swim Festival.

The community ocean swim event was available to swimmers of all ages and abilities and was enthusiastically supported by competitors from local swimming clubs.

More than 500 swimmers took part in the Australian Open Water Championships on the day of the community swim..

West Australian Ava Hartzer and her family drove 273km from Yanchep to Busselton for the early start and at nine years, was the youngest competitor in the community events that ranged from 500m through to 10km.

“I am a bit tired now, I did the 500m and I loved it . . . except for when I saw a stingray, I didn’t like that . . . I knew I had to be brave . . . I wanted to swim because my older brother was swimming,” she said.

Oldest competitor Trish Miller, at 73 and with 28 years of ocean swimming experience, competed in the 1.25km swim.

“It’s just such a great course, it’s well-organised and the water was just beautiful,” she said.

“Ocean swimming is just so good mentally and physically for you.”

Ms Mettam, who attended the event said it was “fantastic to see the Australian Open Water Swimming Championships return to Busselton for a second year”.

“My congratulations to Sophie Row and her team at Swimming WA for their work to retain this prestigious national event within Western Australia,” she said.

“This is another example of how important the Busselton Margaret River Airport is for the region with direct flights from the Eastern States, making it easier and encouraging visitors to (visit) our beautiful South West region.”

Xavier Collins from Perth.
Camera IconXavier Collins from Perth. Credit: Suzanne Aston

“The conditions here are beautiful for open water swimming. I’m hoping to do really well today,” he said.

Collins will head to Italy in September to represent Australia in the open water swimming junior world championships.

Ms Mettam said that given the popularity of swimming, it was important that the local services that support the community keep up.

“The Geographe Leisure Centre has completely outgrown the needs of the Busselton and Dunsborough communities and it will continue to be a priority for me to work alongside the swimming community to deliver a 50m aquatic facility,” she said.

Ms Row was in agreement.

“People love to swim in open water events, but they have to be able to train in the pool,” she said.

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