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OW Championships to include public ocean swim festival at Busselton

Elite swimming is set for a return to Western Australia with the iconic Busselton Jetty to be centre stage for the 2023 Australian Open Water Championships and Ocean Swim Festival.

Hundreds of athletes and thousands of spectators will converge on WA’s picturesque South West region, with the Ocean Swim Festival to run from January 25-28 in Busselton.

The Championships will showcase the Busselton Jetty with the 5km, 7.5km and 10km courses all based around the iconic attraction. Athletes will compete in a series of Australian Open Water Championship events that will also act as qualifiers for international FINA events later in the year.

The Ocean Swim Festival will also attract a broader audience beyond elite level athletes, with the community swim event anticipated to engage hundreds of amateur swimming enthusiasts, while spectators will enjoy a number of activities on the shore including food and wine activations, as well as a floating cinema.

The events will be delivered with the support of the Western Australia Government, through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, funded by Royalties for Regions, as well as the City of Busselton.

Western Australian Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism, the Hon Roger Cook MLA, said he is delighted to see more open water swimming events coming to WA.

“The WA Government is proud to support this fantastic event in 2023 as it moves to one of our top tourism towns, and is set to boost local businesses in the area including cafes, restaurants and accommodation providers.

“The South West is the perfect location for this event with what seems like countless attractions and tourism experiences for out-of-region visitors to enjoy, from the world-famous and gourmet produce of the Margaret River Region, to stunning nearby beaches of Busselton and Dunsborough just waiting to be explored.

“This event is expected to attract thousands of visitors from across WA and from out-of-State, injecting millions into the WA economy.”

Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

“This is yet another exciting event to add to the South West’s sporting calendar, helping to add vibrancy and buzz to the region.

“‘The Ocean Swim Festival couldn’t come at a better time with the new direct flight between Melbourne and Busselton bringing interstate visitors to the region three times a week.

“Events such as this help to grow the region’s economy and support local businesses.”

Swimming Australia CEO, Eugénie Buckley, said it was a welcome return to WA for a premier national event.

“We truly are spoilt for choice when it comes to Open Water swimming in Australia but there are few better locations, both from an athlete and spectator perspective, than WA’s idyllic South-West coastline,” Buckley said.

“Open Water swimming is enjoying prolific growth in profile as a discipline and this event will attract our leading athletes from across the country as an important step in their preparation for next year’s World Championships, and the Paris Olympics beyond that.”

“We are particularly pleased to be returning to such a proud swimming community as Western Australia where our sport has always been so warmly supported and embraced in the past and we look forward to working with both the State Government, and the City of Busselton, to deliver another memorable event.”

City of Busselton Mayor, Grant Henley, said he was looking forward to welcoming the event to the region.

“We are very excited to have been selected to host the National Open Water Swim Championships in Busselton for 2023,” Mayor Henley said.

“With our pristine bay and premium viewing from the shore and the jetty, we are confident we can provide a world class experience for competitors and spectators from around Australia and internationally.”

Swimming WA CEO, Sophie Row, also welcomed the announcement.

“Swimming WA is thrilled to see the National Open Water Event and Ocean Swim Festival being hosted in our home state in the state’s ‘event capital’, Busselton,” Row said.

“Western Australia is the natural home for open water swimming with our pristine clean waters along our incredible coastline and our beautiful rivers, dams and lakes.  Swimming WA hosts the largest open water swim series in Australia and this event is a superb opportunity for us to showcase WA’s leadership in this popular and growing activity.”

“We are particularly excited to add a whole new dimension to the National events, through the addition of the Ocean Swim Festival and community swim, which will create a fantastic atmosphere for everyone.”

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