Pilbara teams get into spirit of Rottnest swim

Alicia PereraPilbara News
DR ABC team members Vicqi Johnson, Kelsey de Koker, 4, Carissa Ives, Onelia de Koker and Sarel de Koker after finishing their last lap.
Camera IconDR ABC team members Vicqi Johnson, Kelsey de Koker, 4, Carissa Ives, Onelia de Koker and Sarel de Koker after finishing their last lap. Credit: Alicia Perera

The Pilbara may be a long way from Rottnest, but that didn’t stop local swimmers from being part of the Rottnest Channel Swim action on Saturday morning.

Teams from Karratha, Onslow and Exmouth took on the Virtual Rottnest Channel Swim at local pools, swimming the popular WA race’s distance of 20km simultaneously with the Perth event.

The Karratha event, held at the city’s Leisureplex, featured a record number of 12 teams — mostly “novelty” squads of seven to 10 people, and one “competitive” team of four.

They included members of the Karratha Water Polo Association, the swimming club, Leisureplex, St John Ambulance, Impact Gym and local schoolteachers.

A swimmer part of the Karratha Virtual Rottnest Channel Swim.
Camera IconA swimmer part of the Karratha Virtual Rottnest Channel Swim. Credit: Pilbara News, Alicia Perera

Repeat winners the Karratha Marlins men’s team, from the local water polo association, finished first with a time of 4hr.3min.

They were followed by the Karratha Marlins women (4:59), the Karratha Swimming Club’s Dolphins team (5:13) and the Orcas (5:19).

The event’s only competitive team of four, Like a Fish Out of Water, recorded a time of 8:22.

Like a Fish Out of Water team members Lesley Misarz, Jane Errey, Rebecca Stokes and Jennifer Lawton received medals for completing the swim as a team of four.
Camera IconLike a Fish Out of Water team members Lesley Misarz, Jane Errey, Rebecca Stokes and Jennifer Lawton received medals for completing the swim as a team of four. Credit: Tristan Lynn

Marlins men’s team member Tristan Lynn, who organised the event on behalf of the KWPA, said the number of teams involved was growing each year.

“I think people like having a target of 20km. It’s a reasonable distance,” he said.

“If you haven’t done much swimming before, then it’s pretty hard to work towards that ... so I think it’s something everyone can aspire to.”

Karratha Swimming Club acting president Sharron Henderson said the event was a good opportunity for the club’s young members to develop endurance and teamwork, especially in the lead-up to hosting the WA Country Pennants this weekend.

The two winning teams of Exmouth’s Virtual Rottnest Channel Swim, the Mighty Morwongs and Super Sweetlips.
Camera IconThe two winning teams of Exmouth’s Virtual Rottnest Channel Swim, the Mighty Morwongs and Super Sweetlips. Credit: Shire of Exmouth

In Onslow, 33 swimmers across five teams competed in the virtual swim at the Onslow Aquatic Centre, braving 44C heat to be involved.

Morale was kept high thanks to barbecued meals cooked by supporters and poolside massages by a local physiotherapist.

The first team of four swimmers finished in 6:03, with the other teams not far behind.

At Exmouth’s Paltridge Memorial Swimming Pool, seven teams — including four competitive teams — took part.

In an exciting end to the event, two teams — the Mighty Morwongs and Super Sweetlips — tied for first place.

Both teams finished in a time of 5:40.

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