Rottnest Channel Swim
I’ve been meaning to photograph the start of the Rottnest Channel Swim for some time – but the 5.30am start on a Saturday morning has often proven a little prohibitive, especially after a late Friday night.
A few year ago, I turned up in the wee hours of the morning to find the Indian Ocean churning and the swim canceled due to inclement conditions. A couple of years later, I photographed the event again, shooting B&W film.
This year, after ensuring I went to bed at a decent hour on Friday, I managed to get to Cottesloe Beach at sunrise to photograph the start of this marathon event.
The Rottnest Channel Swim is in its 20th year, and there were more than 2300 competitors this year. Swimmers take on the challenge solo (surely a test of human endurance), duos, or in teams of four. This year, conditions were a trifle unsettled, with quite a swell in the ocean. This did not deter the doughty punters, who slipped on their cossies, slopped on the sunscreen, and slapped on their swimming caps in preparation for the challenge of the 19 kilometre swim to Rotto.
What I love about this event is the discipline, emotion and camaraderie in the crowd of swimmers and their supporters gathering at Cottesloe Beach. Wives hug and kiss husbands, wishing them all the best for the swim; kids clamour at the barriers, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of Mum or Dad at the water’s edge; mates (and friendly rivals) with each other good luck with a handshake or a backslap. Then, there are the serious swimmers, inhabiting their own thoughts as they psyche themselves for the odyssey ahead.
Here is a selection of images from the morning. Enjoy!