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  • This event was last held on Sun, 3 Mar 2024

WOW Challenge

  • Williamstown VIC
  • 1.2km, 2.5km, 5km, 7.5km & 10km


The WOW Challenge is organised by

Quick Overview

  • Williamstown Beach, Williamstown VIC
  • 1.2km, 2.5km, 5km, 7.5km & 10km
  • Ocean Swim
  • Around The Buoys


  • Williamstown Beach
  • Williamstown VIC, Australia


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The Williamstown Open Water Challenge – “WOW Challenge” – attracts first-time open water swimmers to world and Olympic champions.

Held at Williamstown beach, only 10 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, you’ll find elite swimmers and everyday open water swimmers, swimming together in all events. 

This event has four swim distances to choose from, 1.2km, 2.5km, 5km and 10km open water swim.

The WOW Challenge is for everyone from champions, weekend warriors, kids, multiclass swimmers, fast, slow, young and old swimmers.

 It’s also an opportunity to mingle with some of the best open water swimmers in the world with past winners including 2015 World Champion Jordan Wilimovsky, Team USA’s Katy Campbell, Australian Dolphin Sam Sheppard and Brazilian Olympian Lisandra De Carvalho.

The WOW Challenge is the ninth and last event of the Great Victorian Swim Series. 

1.2km Open Water Swim 

The 1.2km Open Water Swim course will start on the beach before swimmers head out to round two buoys before returning to shore to finish. 

2.5km, 5km & 10km Open Water Swim 

The 2.5km, 5km and 10km open water swims are swum on the famous Williamstown 2.5km championship course. 

Swimmers will start on the beach before swimming the course in an anti-closewise direction. The first turn will take swimmers around the rock groyne and over The Crystals, a local diving and snorkeling site. This is followed by a left turn to the boat harbour which takes swimmers out into deeper water before conducting another left turn. From here swimmers will head east onto the legendary WOW back straight. With swimmers making a final left turn, to head back to the feeding station and finish arch. 

Swimmers in the 2.5km swim will complete one lap of the course. 

Swimmers in the 5km swim will complete two laps of the course. 

Swimmers in the 10km swim will complete four laps of the course. 

The course could be reversed back into a clockwise direction if weather conditions change. 

If you haven’t had enough of the water post ocean swim, head over to Jawbone Marine Sanctuary for a peaceful snorkel. Jawbone Marine Park had protected 30 hectares of coastal waters for over 80 years. Leaving it the perfect unspoilt spot to enjoy an array of marine life.

Leave your wet togs behind and get your walking legs on. If you head to Ferguson Street Pier you can cast your eyes on the breathtaking view of the skyscraper in the city skyline. This is made even better by the sprinkle of boats scattered across the calm bay in the foreground.

Nestled just behind Williamstown Beach is the Williamstown Botanic Gardens which is home to rare and significant trees alongside a stunning formal palm avenue and charming ornamental pond. The gardens were opened in 1860 and was one of Victoria’s first public gardens.

Williamstown exudes maritime history, after all it was originally a fishing village. Take a tour of the HMAS Castlemaine which is moored down at Gem Pier. Aboard this ship you will learn the history of the sea-faring voyage on the tall ship Enterprize.

After you’ve finished exploring the town, there is a smorgasbord of restaurants to pick from in Williamstown with the Sebastian being a fan favourite for a delicious beachside meal.

Fifi’s By The Beach and The Kiosk by d’Asporto are great locations for coffee and a quick bite to eat post ocean swim and exploring.

Williamstown Beach is accessible by public transport via both train and bus.

Bus 471 and 472 will take you to Williamstown Beach and the Williamstown Train will get you close to the beach, only a short 500m walk from the station to the beach.

There is quite a lot of ticketed parking at the western end car park and along the Esplanade for $3 per hour or $11.70 daily. There is also free parking available along the side streets off the Esplanade.

The first 300 entrants will receive a t-shirt and the first 500 entrants a show bag packed with goodies from companies such as Grill’d Southland, Colgate and Mars.

Free community series

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Course Maps


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