Transfers: You can transfer yourself to a different distance or transfer your entry to another person via your Race Roster dashboard up until 24 hours before entries close. Visit your dashboard
Pre-event: Use the event support contact form for all event queries.
Event day: For support on the day of the event, talk to an event official. Urgent event updates will be communicated via SMS. If you don’t hear from us, the event is on as and where scheduled.
The Macquarie Bank Big Swim is one of the premier events on the ocean swim calendar, with a proud history and a satisfying and challenging course.
The primary swim shares the same name as the event and is a 2.8km point-to-point epic from Palm Beach to Whale Beach.
The challenge was first taken on in 1974 with just 48 competitors but it regularly attracts 1000s of ocean swimmers from all over the country and overseas.
In 2024 the event will be celebrating its 50th, with huge celebrations planned. Entries for this historic milestone are expected to reach the 2,000 swimmer safety limit so don’t delay your entry and risk missing out.
If the main attraction is beyond your reach this season, the McGrath Pittwater Little Big Swim is a 1km ocean swim conducted at Palm Beach before swimmers leave on the big coastal journey.
Some say you graduate as an ocean swimmer once you’ve completed the Big Swim.
BIG SWIM RECOGNITION
How many Big Swims have you done?
The organising committee are looking to recognise swimmers who have participated in all, or nearly all, of the 50 Big Swims. If you’d like to share your details and tell your story, especially of the early days, please complete this online form.
The Macquarie Bank Big Swim is a 2.8km course that starts from the Palm Beach Pavillion and finishes right in the middle of Whale Beach to the south.
The swim runs out from Palm Beach, then follows the coastline around Little Head and into the centre of Whale Beach. Initially, you might think Whale Beach is ‘just around the headland’, however, one of the greatest tales you will indulge in post-swim will be the ‘never-ending headlands’, giving credence to the name, the ‘Big Swim’.
This swim can be one of the toughest ocean swims of the year depending on the ever-changing surf conditions, but it will not disappoint. It can also just as easily be a leisurely swim with calm, flat water when conditions are at their best.
Elite swimmers can typically finish the course in roughly half an hour, while the average time is closer to 50 minutes.
The McGrath Pittwater Little Big Swim is a great family-friendly 1km swim for those that want to be a part of the festivities but don’t want to take on the full swim, just yet.
The course is a beach start and goes out past the break, around four coloured buoys before coming back to the starting point.
Swim aids such as wetsuits, fins, snorkels and pull buoys are allowed during the swim, but swimmers who choose to use aids will not be eligible for major prizes and will be required to start at the back of the pack.
At the finish:
Once you’re all done, why not hit the Palm Beach Golf Course and complete 9-holes. If golfing isn’t your thing, take a guided tour and visit locations featured in the popular TV series Home and Away.
There is metered parking at Palm Beach and North Palm Beach but only for approximately 150 vehicles. The beach front parking at Whale Beach is closed for the event and there is extremely limited parking in surrounding streets – carpooling recommended.
Free Shuttle Buses
Free shuttle buses from North Avalon Soccer Fields go to the start at Palm Beach and return from the finish at Whale Beach.
Little Swim entrants can take free bus to Whale Beach to watch finish along with supporters and spectators.
A bus from Palm Beach ferry wharf will take Central Coast swimmers to the event start and back to the ferry from the finish at Whale Beach.
For a map of recommended parking areas and up-to-date information on the free shuttle bus, please visit the event website.
Central Coast Ferry
For Central Coast and Newcastle swimmers:
For complete event information, please visit the official event website.
Wave 1 is known as the Elite Wave, and will be comprised of elite and other faster swimmers.
There are limited places available in the elite Wave. The top 10% will be determined by reference to the Order of Precedence maintained by oceanswims.com. Swimmers who have not competed in ocean swim before could submit a 1 km pool time for consideration.
For a space in the Elite Wave, please send an email to [email protected] with details and attend the timing tent on the morning of the swim for approval. Entry will be closed 30 minutes before race start time at 9:30am.
Fins n Skins
The final wave of the race is the Fins n Skins event. This is only wave where flippers and wetsuits are allowed. Should you wish to swim join this wave, make sure you select Fins n Skins on the entry form.
A free personal belongings bag drop is provided at Palm Beach for you to collect at Whale Beach. Make sure that you clearly identify your bag with a tag or something.
Your safety is paramount. For information on the water safety provided for this event, tips for staying safe, and some basic swimming etiquette visit the event website.
Please remind yourself of the entry conditions and race rules before you arrive.
The formal presentation of awards of medals and gift packs for 1st, 2nd, 3rd in each age group. Lots of ‘luck entrant number’ gift pack give-aways.
Make sure you get your free IDID IT! car sticker and purchase your matching t-shirt for just $25.
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