Swim king Sam Sheppard is among the big names confirmed for Victoria’s peak open-water swimming event in Williamstown this month.
Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club and Swimming Victoria will host the fourth Victorian Open Water Championships and the Williamstown Open Water (WOW) Challenge on December 16.
Distances range from the 750-metre Optus Junior Dolphin Chase the Champs kids challenge to the 10-kilometre championships, with a multi-class event for swimmers of all abilities.
Race director Jason Bryce said also confirmed were Olympians Josh Beaver and Kenrick Monk, and Chloe McCardel who holds the world record for the longest ocean swim in history at 124.4kilometres.
“We have spent tens of thousands of dollars this year to make this into the next-level, world-class event,” Bryce said.
“We’re building two decks in the water that people will stand on … this is going to be something that people will want to see.
“We are using a finish gantry that was designed based on the one used at Rio in the 2016 Olympics.
“We’ve just come to an agreement with Swimming Victoria to hold the state championships of open water swimming in Williamstown for the next six years. This is a huge coup for the west.”
Sheppard, a seven-time Lorne Pier to Pub winner, said what he loved most was how the event included so many different types of swimmers and abilities.
“It accommodates everyone, from swimming a one-kilometre race up to your elite 10-kilometre race, with a lot of people going on to have it as a hit out before nationals in late January.
“Last time I did it was 2016 and I was training pretty hard to try to make Rio – unfortunately, I didn’t make Rio and you move on – but now I’m swimming it because I’m doing the Rottnest swim in February.
“That’s a 20-kilometre swim so I have to get a couple of 10 kilometre swims under my belt.”
“In previous years, there have been past world champion swimmers and also some more accomplished pool swimmers that have been on past Olympic teams, swimming more as a bit of fun and a bit of training.
“It really pulls some great swimmers and I’m sure it will again this year.