2017 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim - Post Event Wrap

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2017 Post Event Wrap

Highly regarded worldwide and one of Western Australia's iconic events, the Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim is a 19.7km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island. Whether competing as a solo, duo or team, the Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim is a 'team' event with all swimmers surrounded by a support network of paddlers, boat skippers and crew. The event, managed by the Rottnest Channel Swim Association, is held in February of each year and is Rottnest Island's biggest day.
Race Directors Report 

Congratulations on participating in the 2017 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim and Champions of the Channel – as swimmers, paddlers, skippers or support crew! It takes all of us to make this Swim the special and iconic event that it is.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on the 27th Rottnest Channel Swim! We certainly acknowledge that this was a deceptively challenging crossing for many, although so far we have received a lot of positive feedback about this year's event and we look forward to reviewing the results of the post event surveys. Feedback from participants (both the good and the constructive) is vital for the continued enhancement of the event.

The proportion of swimmers safely completing the crossing has long been a key measure of success for race organisers. This year, 95% of swimmers who started at Cottesloe successfully finished the event. The last three years have been 99% (2016), 93% (2015) and 99% (2014). While 99% is a great result, we will be speaking with those who didn't finish to learn why and assess whether we can help in mitigating this.

Started Finished
Solo 272 229
Duo 177 (354) 171 (342)
Team 443 (1,772) 424 (1,696)
CotC 43 (59) 40 (56)
Total Boats 913 860
Total Swimmers 2,457 2,323


Event day saw 13 swimmers treated by on-water medical support and taken back to Fremantle, with only one known case resulting in hospitalisation. Hypothermia and sea sickness were again the main cause for many of these.

Our critical incident, which led to hospitalisation, was caused by Swimming Induced Pulmonary Edema – SIPE, among one of our solo swimmers. Thankfully she has made a speedy recovery and hopes to tackle this challenge again in the near future.

There were 61 swimmers who received medical support on the island. 30 of these were treated for hypothermia, which was a 25% increase from last year (24 in 2016), 90% of which were solo swimmers. There was also a significant increase in nausea & vomiting cases (10 compared to 4 in 2016).

Providing education surrounding the warning signs and treatment of hypothermia will continue to be a priority for future briefings, along with pulmonary edema.

Rule Breaches

The RCSA will continue to have a 'soft touch' with rule breaches where safety is not compromised. Warnings will continue to be given and further action only taken where absolutely necessary. In the event of a breach that compromises the safety of swimmers, paddlers, or other boats, we will continue to have a stronger response. 

It should be noted that we regard a team to include swimmers, your paddler, and your skipper. A safety breach by any can mean a significant penalty being applied to all.

This year there was one safety breach that led to a disqualification.

Swimmer and paddler go beyond the 1500m mark without their support boat: Officials were requested to assist in finding a support boat's swimmer and paddler. The swimmer and paddler were then considered 'missing'. We spent in excess of two hours trying to make contact with the skipper, swimmers and emergency contacts via marine radio and telephone. The key rule breach was simply that the swimmer and paddler had not stopped at the 1500m icon vessel – the furthest a swimmer and paddler can go if not coupled with their support boat. For this breach, the team was disqualified. The committee did not impose further penalties on the swimmers.

D.N.F.'s (Did Not Finish)

The feedback we've had from the swimming community this year, post swim, has indicated that the average finish times in the water was between 60 and 90 minutes longer than the 2016 swim. Beautiful weather established a false perception among many swimmers and their skippers, that we were going to have a fast and smooth crossing like that in 2016. This was far from the reality with murky conditions until the 16 / 17 km mark and a very strong southerly current pushing many swimmers well off course. This caused anticipated swim times to blow out and is a good reminder that training is paramount.

Boats not involved on Event Day

We had some incidences with boats not involved in the swim, potentially compromising the safety of our fleet. Of note, the Race Director exited a solo scuba diver anchored in the swim channel, with no-one on board nor on watch, at the 17.75 km mark. He had no idea a thousand swimmers and their support crews were descending towards him, so imagine his surprise when we gave his flippers a tug 12 metres underwater and suggested he surface and move to an alternate dive spot!

Thank you

Our aim is to ensure all swimmers reach the island safely and that takes a lot of effort and co-operation. Thanks to everyone for contributing to the success and safety of our event! 

Want to win a guaranteed entry in the 2018 event?!

We are already excited for next year's swim and we want to hear from you on how we can keep making it better!

The best way to have your say is via our post-event survey, which covers various aspects of the Event, from registrations to the finish line. If you haven't done so already, visit the link below and let us know your favourite parts and those you think we can improve on.

2017 Swimmers' Post Event Survey

To thank you for your time, we have a prize for one person to win a guaranteed place* in the 2018 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim or a $1,000 Karma Resorts voucher!

You have until next Friday, 24 March 2017, to complete the online survey.

*Please note that the entry is not free, but guaranteed for the 2017 event. Please click here for the full Terms and Conditions of the prize draw and the winner will be drawn at random.  

2017 Official Event Day Photos

The weather really turned it on for us on Event day and our official photographers, Aussies in Action, were able to capture every aspect of the 2017 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim.

The photos are from start to finish and you can search for your race number or finish time to streamline the process on the Aussies in Action website.

Please note, if you would like to purchase any of the photos from the day, you only have until the 15 April to view the photos online!

Thanks for the Memories! 

If you missed out on additional merchandise for the 2017 Swim, we have a small range of sizes available. If you are interested in purchasing extra smalls, smalls and extra extra large, please contact us on enquiries@rottnestchannelswim.com.au to arrange a time for payment and collection. All t-shirts are $40 each.

Our good friends at Aussie Gold delivered some amazing merchandise this year too! They have short sleeve t-shirts available, singlets, hoodies, caps and the limited edition 2017 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim t-shirt complete with all the solo names printed on the back!

Aussie Gold have these available in sizes small, medium and large so be quick to snap up the last of the 2017 Rotto Swim merchandise and savour the memories of your latest swim! For all enquiries, contact Aussie Gold on (08) 9244 3444.

Soloist Licence Plates 

All first time solo swimmers will be allocated an official Rottnest Channel Swim Solo Crossing Number which will be their personalised number. Once solo crossing numbers are confirmed, all first time soloists will be posted a letter and application form, which will need to be returned to the RCSA. These will then be forwarded by us to the Department of Transport. We post these letters to the postal address included in your registration.

The cost to order the personalised plates is $385 and payment can be made by either credit card or cheque.

The time from ordering via the RCSA, to production by the Department of Transport and final collection can range from 6-8 weeks.

Unfortunately these plates are not available for motorcycles or interstate and international swimmers as souvenir plates. The Department of Transport requires these plates to be registered to a Western Australian vehicle only, however your unique solo number will always be yours to keep.

If you are a previous solo swimmer, (or have recently moved to Perth for the plates!), and would like to purchase yours, please contact us on info@rottnestchannelswim.com.au and we will send you the forms.

Only 2 Weeks To Use Your 40% Event Special Offer + 1 Free Night At Rotto! 

Karma Resorts invites you to immerse yourself in the unique experiences Karma Club has to offer with huge discounts and savings across the globe. Enjoy a complimentary Karma Club membership (valued at $499 USD) and a ONE-OFF 40% DISCOUNT for use at any of their global resorts plus 25% off food, beverages and spa packages. In addition, you'll receive an exclusive member benefit when traveling to Rottnest Island: Receive up to 25% off ferry tickets, whale watching and cruises with your membership. 

Imagine, you could explore a vibrant underwater world a mere stone's throw from the barefoot luxury of Karma's 'glamping' resort, Karma Reef Gili Meno, or lounge about your own private pool villa at the award-winning 5 Star luxury resort, Karma Kandara, located along Bali's stunning 'Billionaire's Row'. 

Complete your membership by visiting www.karmaclub.com/swim17 

If you're already a valued member please contact the Karma Club concierge team, quote the event special promo code 'SWIM17' when booking your next luxury holiday experience. Your exclusive one-off 40% discount is available for use at any of their 28 Global resorts but you must book your holiday for anytime in the next 12 months before the 31st March 2017!

Refer a friend to Karma Club and receive 1 night at Karma Rottnest absolutely free! Simply send this link www.karmaclub.com/swim17 to a friend, get them to sign up to Karma Club with your surname as the referral and you'll both receive 1 night's free accommodation at the always welcoming Karma Rottnest. 

For more information www.karmagroup.com/swim17 

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Successful swim for Charities!

The Lavan Charity Challenge has been part of the Rottnest Channel Swim since 2004.  To all of the participants in this year's Lavan Charity Challenge who, together, raised over $10,000 to support many deserving Western Australian charities – thank you for your amazing efforts. Lavan congratulates all of the 2017 Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim competitors and encourages future participants to think about joining the Lavan Charity Challenge and using their participation in the swim as an opportunity to raise money for a deserving Western Australian charity of their choice.


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Are you ready to be the best you? You can, thanks to The Biggest Loser: Transformed on TEN'