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.
As the Cole Classic celebrates its 40th year anniversary, 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.
1km, 2km & 5km
Saturday, 5 February
Sunday, 6 February
To celebrate the 40th year anniversary, the first 4,000 entrants receive a limited edition Cole Classic Truckers Cap and Gear Bag to go along with their swim cap. The pack is worth over $50!
1km - 9-years-old, 2km - 12-years-old, 5km - 15-years-old
Manly NSW, Australia
Categories & Start Waves
What happens if the race is cancelled?
The race organisers reserve the right to cancel the race due to rough or dangerous conditions. In the event of cancellation, there will be no refund of entry fee. An alternate date will be looked at to stage the event. A decision will be made ASAP on race day and broadcast via this website and social media.
If the Event is cancelled due to COVID-19 and alternate dates are unavailable, a credit for the full Event entry fee will be provided against the entry fee for the 2022 Cole Classic only.
Can I refund my entry?
When entering the Cole Classic, the terms and conditions must be accepted by each individual entrant. The refund policy for 2021 is listed below. There are no exceptions to this rule and no refunds will be given for change of mind or situation.