- Date5 Feb 2023
2023 results - Did you enjoy your swim? Review this event
The Cole Classic is a ‘must do' on every ocean swimmers' calendar.
The event was founded by keen swimmer Graham Cole in 1982 after he competed in a similar event in Hawaii. He came back to Sydney and was keen to establish something similar for Australia's keen ocean swimmers.Thus, the Cole Classic was born.
These days, swimmers and spectators alike come together and immerse themselves in the community atmosphere on the first Sunday in February at Australia's iconic Manly Beach.
The Cole Classic has been run for more than 40 years and you can join more than 4,000 swimmers of all ages and abilities who will take on the 1km, 2km or 5km swims, with some of the more serious competitors entering more than one distance!
Whilst all distances enjoy a common start line at Shelly Beach, the 5km swim takes you over to Freshwater Point, with the 2km and 1km swims looping north, before all distances share a common finish line at either South Steyne.
All swim distances start on Shelly Beach and finish at South Steyne, which is outside the Manly surf club.
The 1km swim is the shortest distance taking swimmers from Shelly Beach around a buoy 500m from the beach and then into South Steyne.
The 2km swim starts the same as the 1km, but heads further north before returning to the finish outside the surf club.
For those taking on the 5km distance, this course will take you all the way down Manly Beach towards Freshwater Beach. Once arriving in Queenscliff Bay out the front of Freshwater Beach, you'll turn the buoys and head all the way back towards Shelly Beach, taking a right-hand turn to finish at South Steyne, Manly.
Manly is a popular surfing beach (the birthplace of surfing in Australia) that attracts people from all over the world, from sunbathers to bodyboarders and surfers. There are permanent Volleyball nets/courts located on the beach and a promenade runs along the beachfront for walking, jogging and skating.
There’s a plethora of restaurants, cafés and bars all over Manly to try out!
Shelly Beach, where the race starts from, sits on Cabbage Tree Bay which is a nature reserve perfect scuba divers and snorkelers. There are BBQ facilities and breakfast and lunch at The Boathouse Restaurant.
North Head Sanctuary is a special place for Aboriginal people with rock carvings created many thousands of years ago. North head houses Royal Australian Artillery National Museum, the Bella Vista Café in the heritage-listed North Fort Building, the Australian Bronze Café.
The best way to begin your journey to Manly, the Gateway of the Northern Beaches, is by cruising across Sydney Harbour on one of the most picturesque ferry rides in the world.
Of course, you can also take a bus, take a ride-share or drive in a private car.
Other parts of the Northern Beaches are accessible from Sydney’s CBD and suburbs by land and water too.
Ferries to Manly
Manly Ferries leave approximately every half hour (more frequently in peak times) from Wharf 3 at Circular Quay and return at similar intervals. The trip takes 30 minutes. The Ferry gates close two minutes prior to the departure time, to assist with on-time running.
My Fast Ferry and Captain Cook are private ferry companies that run services to Manly, Circular Quay, Watsons Bay, Taronga Zoo, Chowder Bay and Shark Island. The trip to and from Circular Quay is only 20 minutes.
Categories & Start Waves
You can train for the Cole Classic by following one of OceanFit's free online training programs and taking the supplementary Preparing for the Cole Classic course. These courses are great for sharing with friends and getting them involved!
The first 4,000 entrants receive a limited edition Cole Classic Large Beach Towel with their swim cap.
Saturday, 4 February
Sunday, 5 February
Manly NSW, Australia
2023 results - Review this event
2022 results | 2021 results | 2020 results | 2019 results | 2018 results | 2017 results | 2016 results | 2015 results | 2014 results | 2013 results | 2012 results | 2011 results | 2010 results | 2009 results
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Lauren6 Feb 2022 at 5:03pm
Fantastic swim and very well organized by Manly LSC!
Michael Scott6 Feb 2022 at 5:05pm
2nd time competing in this sensational event. 5km. Magical Manly, as always
Greg6 Feb 2022 at 8:13pm
My favourite swim of the summer calendar. Always a great experience at Manly, the surf is clean, the swim is safe and well organized, there is usually plenty of sealife to observe as you swim by and the atmosphere at the end can’t be beaten. Proud to be part of the 40th anniversary of this fun event. I’ll be back next year for sure.
Mark6 Feb 2022 at 8:24pm
Atmosphere: 5 Stars
Volunteer and Staff 5 Stars
Course Maps and Staff knowledge of 1 star
The 1 K course did not follow the original course maps or the Alternative course maps nor the map on the wall (Too Low down) at the start Gates.
The course had 1 less yellow cone than shown on the day which confused quite a few people. Additionally halfway through the racing someone removed the Red Marker. I saw many other swimmers confused also. Not sure if others had a similar experience.
Other than course communications – A fantastic event with fantastic support crews.
David6 Feb 2022 at 8:59pm
Have to agree.
I love the race, have competed many times, but the organisation of the course was a little off. Hard to know which buoys to swim around after the 2nd buoy. Swimming towards the sun makes it hard to know where you are, have to pause often to work out if you are heading in the right direction…resulting in a little chaos and lost time. Plus it doesn’t help when you are swimming towards the sun = blinding. Please bring back the 1km that goes to Manly Surf Club or go in the opposite direction where the sun is behind you. Not disappointed, just some feedback.
Thank you to all the volunteers and the event organisers that made this happen and Happy 40th!!
Tim Flakelar6 Feb 2022 at 11:00pm
Congratulations to MLSC for organising this event. Fantastic swim by Elite winners in 25’ of very difficult conditions.
The 2km. course was changed at the 2nd yellow can for those following swimmers confusing almost everyone, where the Elite group swam around 2nd yellow can as per map & had a channel to the red cans, the others were dangerously directed inside of yellow cans & into very big surf.
Sally Croker7 Feb 2022 at 6:59am
Fantastic event. Well done to all the volunteers. A special thanks to the volunteers on boards keeping us on track 🙌
Alex Gosman7 Feb 2022 at 9:38am
Entered the 5km late after Cronulla swim postponed. So glad I did although it was such a tough swim and somewhat exhausting. Never really got the chance to get into a rhythm with the swell and chop.
Superbly organised and so many water craft and volunteers on the swell which was needed given hard to sight. Such a friendly and encouraging attitude by all the volunteers.
bannatyne207 Feb 2022 at 10:06am
My Dad and I did the Manly Cole Classic (1km) together and although there were a few issues with the buoys of the course being altered which led to a bit of confusion – found it a fun and well organised event overall. The volunteers from the MLSC went out of their way to ensure that the course remained safe under some challenging conditions and that participants were well looked after both before and after the race. A big thank you to the organisers and the volunteers!
Andrew Scott7 Feb 2022 at 10:10am
Back of the Pack Swimmer.
As someone who loves to swim but doesn’t get much time to train it was great to be able to pull on my fins and enjoy the 2km Cole Classic as a “BoP” swimmer. There was no stigma or condescension just a welcoming attitude from all involved and an acceptance that we all enjoy our ocean swimming the best way we can.
A sincere thanks to all the volunteers who made us all feel safe and welcome on what was a day of reasonably challenging conditions.
Only my 2nd Cole Classic in 8 years but I’ll be back again next year and hopefully for many more to come.
Stephen5 Feb 2023 at 2:51pm
I’ve done the 5k swim previously on a number of occasions. The conditions this year were by far the best I’ve experienced. There was minimal chop and one could see the bottom the whole way round. If I has a criticism; it would be the miss communication between what the swimmers were told on the beach and the instructions obviously given to the lifeguards. The swimmers were told to go round the red and pink buoys with the yellow buoys as pointers – which differed to the lifeguards who persisted in pushing swimmers to the right of the yellow ones. Otherwise it was fantastic!
Gary Hyland7 Feb 2023 at 11:46am
I did the 5k & I thought the way it ran was outstanding Map was clear, the water safety were super helpful in correcting loss of alignment, volunteers at the start & finish areas were so nice while doing a tough job & giving up their day, wow thanks to all who made my day one to remember & assured I will be back. Then not to forget Huey for turning on the great conditions for ocean swimming ,warmest clearest calmest water this year.