Swimmers take off from Shark Bay, Heron Island.
Swimmers take off from Shark Bay, Heron Island. Contributed

Going swimmingly

OCEAN swimmers flocked to Heron Island over the weekend to compete in the first Great Barrier Reef ocean swim event.

One hundred and twenty swimmers participated in the 1km and 3km events around the island, a participation rate that Oceanswims director Paul Ellercamp was happy with.

"When it's a first time event you can never really be too sure on how it will go," Ellercamp said.

"We would have been happy with 30 registered swimmers. So when the resort had fully sold out within only 10 days of the event going on sale we were very happy.

"It is a great result for a first time event."

Ellercamp was not only impressed with the number but also the location.

"Heron Island is beautiful. It is the perfect place to host something like this," he said.

"The water is crystal clear and you get to swim alongside the sea life.

"The only problem was the currents and tides but we worked with this and it was a perfect weekend."

Justin Brewer of Sydney won the 3km event and is looking forward to coming back next year.

"We were swimming with sharks and stingrays, it was just awesome," Brewer said.

"I generally compete in Sydney and have done a couple of swims in Hawaii and Heron Island is the perfect location.

"I really hope to come back in the future."

Following the success of the weekend, Oceanswims is already in talks with Heron Island regarding making this an annual event.

"We had so much support from the community and interest in the event that this can definitely become an annual event. We are hoping for October 20 next year," Ellercamp said.

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