Stanwell Park (NSW) – CANCELED

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Chris Ivin's course preview of The Big Swim of the South (@1worldimages)

STOP PRESS (Mon, Mar 22, 2021, 08:00): Organisers have decided to roll-over all entries from yesterday's canceled event to season 2021/22, when a new date will be set.

By clicking this link for Quick Entry, you agree that you have read the event information carried on this page...

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The "Big Swim of the South"

stanwell logo 19 v2 250Awgies at Stanwell Park have reinstated "the Big Swim of the South" after an hiatus of four years. And we're glad it's back. It's a journey swim beneath the Illawarra Escarpment worthy of the otherwise clichéd tag of "epic". Best to breathe left; if you breathe only right, you'll miss it all.

This is one of the most spectacular swims you will ever do -- 2.3km along the foot of the Illawarra Escarpment. Dramatic, moving, stunning... provided you breathe to the left. If you breathe only to the right, you will get the Stanwell Tops headland up ahead, with people hurling themselves off it at regular intervals on a Sundee morning, as they launch into the big blue in hang-glider harnesses.

This is a stunning swim at one of Sydney's most beautiful beaches. Stanwell Park is on Sydney's southern edge, so it is a city swim in a regional or country setting. You know that from the relaxed, down home atmosphere of the Stanwell Park club, very proud 'burghers (Helensburghers), Stanwellians and Stantoppians who patrol one of the region's most treacherous beaches -- when the seas are up -- and one of its most beautiful beaches.

Most of then time, however, it's just a very beautiful, interesting beach with a stunning stretch of water. The escarpment towers over you as you plug along. The bottom alternates between clean sand and reef, and reefs mean sea life. We've seen some pretty amazing creatures on the bottom down there. And, being out of the city area, the water is cleaner and clearer than you get generally on Sydney beaches. If the water is clear -- three years back, as organiser Andrew Perrin remarked afterwards -- "you were in eight metres of water, but you could count every grain of sand on the bottom".

Awgies advise that they will be running this event with a rolling start so as to promote social distancing at this time of Covid-19. This is in common with many other events in season 2020/21. This will involve 2–3 lanes for constant starts, denominated by witches hats and bunting on the beach at the start at Coalcliff. Categories at this point,they say, are expected to be –

  • M&F 14-19
  • M&F 20-29
  • M&F 30-39
  • M&F 40-49
  • M&F 50-59
  • M&F 60+

Awgies will also switch swimmers with wetsuits, fins, or other swim aids to the Assisted category.

Things you should know...

  • Event - Stanwell Park Ocean Challenge
  • Organiser - Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC
  • Distance - 2.3km
  • Venue - Stanwell Park Beach, on the southern edge of the Royal National Park (see Google Maps locator below).
  • Course - Runs out from Coalcliff to a turning booee about 200 metres offshore, then north along the Illawarra Escarpment to Stanwell Park beach. There's only one way to go in this swim: north, and head towards Stanwell Tops. Keep the headland as your target, and eventually you'll reach the final turner.
  • Time/Date - CANCELED – See Stop Press above.
  • Registration and race day entries - 8am-9:15am
  • Entry fee - $35 ($45 on race day)
  • Online entries close - 3pm, Saturday, March 20, 2021 (TBC)
  • Under 18 swimmers - Parents/guardians of swimmers aged under 18 must complete the online entry form, not the swimmers themselves. They must include their consent to the entry with full name and  phone contact input into the Emergency contact field. Just a phone number, a first name, or a number and first name will not do. Entries of U18 swimmers are not complete without this complete parental/guardian consent. Entries of U18 swimmers must be done with the parent's email address, not that of the U18 entrant.
  • Conditions - Stanwell Park and Coalcliff can be difficult beaches if seas are high. Coalcliff offers a reef break on a bottom of large, rounded stones with a run-out by a rock shelf. Stanwell Park, at the other end of the course, offers a beach break with rips and banks. In between, this swim is a glorious cruise through generally clear water and over myriad reefs.
  • Mimimum age - 14
  • Categories -10-year age groups, Male and female
  • Prizes - $300 1st Overall Male & Female; $200 2nd Overall Male & Female;
    $100 3rd Overall Male & Female.
    Event Logo Beach Towel for 1st, 2nd & 3rd age group placegetters.
  • Further info - Download hard copy entry form (pdf)... Coming soon
  • Enquiries - Click here
  • Progress entries - Check your online entry... Click here (including roll-over entries entries from 2020). For roll-over entreis from 2019Click here
  • Getting there - You can get the train to Stanwell Park, if you like. It's a pretty and pleasing journey south from Sydney and north from the 'gong along the Illawarra Line. For timetable info... Click here. It's a short walk from the station to the beach. If you drive, park near the kiosk at beach end of station street, then it's a short walk across the park.


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Please read this first: Any problems you encounter in entering this event are likely to be caused by browser conflicts. Don't hit the Submit button more than once: you will be charged each time you press it. If you run into problems, if your entry appears to fail, don't try to enter again until you have checked the progress entries list (there's a link to this above), and check your card statement to see whether a charge has been debited. If your confirmation email doesn't turn up, check your Spam and Trash folders. If all these checks return negatives, it's probably safe to try again. But ensure you have the most recent version of your browser, or use a different browser, or try from a different computer. If there's still a problem, email us and we'll try to sort it out. Refunds are available prior to close of online entries and are subject to an administration fee of $10. Note that a service fee of $2.50 is added to all online entries at check-out.

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