A new 21.5km ocean swimming event is hitting Gold Coast shores in 2020.
The Swim the Gold Coast distance swimming event, which was announced by World Series Swims this week, will take place on May 30 next year.
Stretching from Coolangatta to Surfers Paradise, the marathon swimming event will incorporate individual and team participation.
Swimmers can enter the race as solo, duo teams or teams of four.
In the team event, the 21.5km distance can be broken up into multiple legs of any distance, allowing teams to be made up of swimmers of all abilities.
For the inaugural year of the event, places are limited to 100 individual swimmers, 50 duo teams and 50 teams of four, so event organisers are advising interested competitors to reserve a place early.
The new event is a collaboration between World Series Swims, Australian Olympic swimmer Michael Klim, and his skincare company Milk & Co.
Klim, who has been a long-time supporter of the Cooly Classic Ocean Swim, said in a statement last week that he believed Swim the Gold Coast would have international appeal and bring hundreds of swimmers to Queensland.
“We have been talking about this concept for a while, so we’re excited to be making it happen in 2020,” Klim said.
“It allows swimmers from around the world to swim the entire length of this iconic coastline.”
“The finish beneath the Surfers Paradise skyscrapers is spectacular from out on the course – this event is one of a kind.”
Each swimmer or swim team will need a designated support boat to act as a spotter throughout the race, with team members shouting support from the boat and adding to the fun of the teams event.
World Series Swims director John Guise said he was really excited about the duo and teams of four categories.
“The team option makes a marathon swim accessible to swimmers of any ability; the 21.5km course can be broken up into distances to suit each swimmer’s ability,” Mr Guise said.
“Teams conquer the Gold Coast together, it’s a really unique experience,” he said.
“In Autumn the Gold Coast swell drops right off and it becomes a swimmer’s paradise, the boat trip alone will be amazing.”
The option of competing in the long-distance swim as part of a team is already enticing amateur swimmers to take part in the event.
Amateur swimmer Paris Hutchen said she was looking to get a team together.
“I want to do it just for some fun and to get active,” she said.
“You always need to set yourself goals and completing this would be a great one to achieve.”
The Gold Coast’s other long distance ocean event, the Coolangatta Gold, is almost double the length of Swim the Gold Coast event, but has entrants competing across several disciplines, including board, ski and run legs.
The swim leg of the Coolangatta Gold event is only 3.5km, and surf life savers are keen to test themselves in the longer form swimming race.
Northcliffe Surf Life Saver James Radley completed the gruelling Coolangatta Gold last year, but has now started training for the marathon swim and said he couldn’t wait to test himself in uncharted waters.
“Completing the Coolangatta Gold was a tough challenge that I really enjoyed training for and this will be another endurance event I’ll have to train really hard for,” Radley said.
“Swimming has always been my strong suit, but I’ve never swam anywhere near this distance in one race before.”
This is not the first time a surf life saver has switched over to open water swimming.
Champion ironman Ky Hurst competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics in the 10km Open Water event and Radley said he would use Ky as inspiration.
“When Ky went to the Olympics, it made me realise that it’s always possible to get better and to achieve more and that’s what is pushing me to complete Swim the Gold Coast,” Radley said.
“The whole surf lifesaving community got behind him and I hope my club does the same for me.”
For more information on the Swim the Gold Coast event, visit www.worldseriesswims.com.au.
Swimmers are invited to pre-register now by placing themselves on the waiting list before entries open.