Get ready for the 2019 Rotto Swim!

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The Rotto Swim review, you talk we listen!
Highly regarded worldwide and one of Western Australia's iconic events, the 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 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.

2018 Post Event Survey

The Rottnest Channel Swim Association (RCSA) would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the 2018 Post Event Survey – your feedback is what we use to help keep improving the Event every year and ensure you have a safe and successful crossing.

This year we had 704 responses and these included your thoughts on the shark sighting, briefings, a celebration area and the 2018 Event as a whole.

The things you liked this year included:

  1. The Metro Safety Briefing, you liked the efficiency of team and duo pack collection as well as the video presentation and the Hall of Fame inductions.
  2. The weather… we will see what we can do for next year!
  3. The atmosphere, comradery and team spirit of the event!
  4. Our awesome volunteers – we love them as well!
  5. Organisation of Event day

 Things you didn't like so much:

  1. Sharks – believe us, we are also not fans! The Rottnest Channel Swim works to balance the line between practicality and swimmer safety.
  2. Radio Chatter – We are looking at ways to reduce unnecessary communications and use additional communication channels to ensure you get important messages when out on the water
  3. The International Briefing not running on time – We are sorry about this, we understand the day before the event you have many things to do and will ensure the briefing runs on time in the future.
  4. The missing buoys at the start line – these went missing overnight but we will work to secure them better and keep spares at the start line.

The recommendations below are based on your suggestions and responses, including changes to Champions of the Channel, shark sighting protocol and revising the Cotto Swim.


2019 Recommendations

Shark sighting protocol

The Association has set up a working group with key stakeholders to review all aspects of how the shark sighting and subsequent evacuation was handled. The working group will make recommendations on the process, resourcing and communications to the Rottnest Channel Swim Association Committee. Any changes will then be communicated later this year and implemented for the 2019 Rottnest Channel Swim. One thing we can confirm is dedicated aerial support for the duration of the Event.

Champions of the Channel

Champions of the Channel was implemented in 2016 with a view to trial an elite event for a period of three years. This year, the Association put together a working group, which included a Champion of the Channel swimmer, to review the current format and continue to work on developing this event to create aspirational crossings and great competition.

The 2019 event will see an elite solo wave of approximately 15 male and 15 female athletes who are invited into the first wave. The wave will have its own dedicated referees and merchandise, however it will not preclude other solo swimmers from taking out the prize money if they are the fastest swimmer on Event day.

Large boats in the fleet

The race rules dictate that large boats greater than 10m and all yachts must stay to the extremities of the fleet as they are deemed to be less agile and hence more dangerous to swimmers. Unfortunately this year we received substantial feedback that these boats remained within the fleet and caused some distress amongst other teams.

To monitor this more effectively, dedicated aerial support for the 2019 event will mean we can look to identify these boats early and move them out to the extremities or remove them from the Event, to ensure the safety of all swimmers.

Cotto Swim

We've had an awesome response to the Cotto Swim, with almost 400 swimmers registered to participate in the inaugural 2018 Event. As a result, 2019 will see the continuation of Cotto Swim with some improvements to the course, different coloured caps for each distance and a race pack collection prior to event day.

Other improvements and initiatives we'll keep you updated on:

  • Friday timing chip collection - we know that race morning can be stressful and we've been investigating ways to improve the event day registration process. One of the solutions we're investigating is having a timing chip collection the day before the Swim at Cottesloe Beach.
  • Celebration area – based on your consistent feedback each year in the post event survey, we know you love the party at Rottnest after the swim, but hate lining up to get a drink. Over the past 3 years, the RCSA has been working with local businesses and the Rottnest Island Authority to provide more options to celebrate your achievements. We are continuing these discussions and will work to try and deliver a free, family friendly space to relax in for the 2019 event.
  • Balloon ban - for many years balloons have been used to help swimmers identify their paddlers at the start line. In accordance with the Town of Cottesloe's local laws, balloons will not be permitted in 2019 or any future event. Balloons can cause serious damage to the marine environment and contribute to the death of many marine animals. We suggest using alternatives such as flags or funny hats and we'll keep you informed about any other genius ideas we have to help you recognise each other on race day!


2019 Event and Registration dates



We are excited to announce that the 2019 Rottnest Channel Swim will be held on Saturday, 23 February 2019!

Please also take note of the registration dates below:

Monday, 1 October to Sunday 14 October 2018

  • Teams and duos who were forced to withdraw from the 2018 event due to the shark sighting, will have two weeks for their team captain to register. Emails have already been sent to those affected and more details will be sent out later this year.

Monday, 22 October to Sunday, 28 October 2018

  • Solos (this includes tandem solos)
  • Lavan Charity Challenge teams (limited spaces available) 

Wednesday, 31 October until sold out

  • Duos and Teams (first in first served)

Please note: soloists receive guaranteed entry and the category is open for one week only. While we have set the system for duos and teams to be open for five days, the spots are first in first served and will close once sold out. For the 2018 Event, the duos and team spots sold out in less than an hour, so make sure your team captain is ready to go! You can find more information on how to prepare for registration week here.


T-shirt Design Competition



Are you a talented artist, designer, have a flair for the creative or just love the Rotto Swim? Then the t-shirt design competition is for you!

The winner of the t-shirt design competition will have their artwork featured on the 2019 Rottnest Channel Swim long sleeved t-shirts and be given the choice of either a cash prize of $500 or a free entry as a Solo, duo or team in the 2019 swim.

Entries close 5.00pm Sunday, 12 August.

To see the T&Cs as well as the past 20 years' winners, visit our website or email for more information.


Swimmers' Seminar - are you ready to take the plunge? 

The RCSA will be holding a free Swimmers' Seminar on Tuesday, 11 September 2018, from 6.00pm to 7.30pm in the Lecture Theatre at HBF Stadium.

The Seminar will see swimmers and industry professionals discuss training, swimmer tricks, nutrition, preparation, the signs of hypothermia, as well as common mistakes. This year the Seminar will also be live streamed on our Facebook so if you live interstate or internationally you will be able to join in the fun!

While it is designed for first time solos, anyone who is interested in swimming in the 2019 Rottnest Channel Swim will find it helpful and are welcome to attend.

For more information, please visit the Rottnest Channel Swim website.

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