The Aussie Ocean Swim is an event that is open to both Surf Life Saving members and the public. It is a 2km ocean swim race that embodies the essence of fun and participation, and will feature some of Australia’s best ocean athletes.

The Ocean Swim is a championship event with medals and points on the line for competing Surf Life Saving Clubs. In 2022, the Aussie Ocean Swim will be held as part of the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships in Perth, WA.


*All SLS Members are to enter the 2021 Aussies Ocean Swim via the SEMS Entry System.


By Courtney Hancock, three-time Coolangatta Gold winner 

The Aussie Ocean Swim is an event where you will experience plenty of nerves, excitement and most importantly a connection with the ocean. I have been very lucky to experience many ocean swim races all over Australia and every single time I finish, I feel determined to start organising my next swim.

Swimming in the ocean is the closest connection you can have with the sea, a feeling you will never forget and a feeling you will want in your life every single day. Here are a few tips that any athlete should know, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced ocean swimmer, to help you prepare for your big swim.


The lead up to the event is just as important as the day itself. Keeping a close eye on rest, hydration, nutrition & recovery are all key factors in helping you perform at your highest on the day.

Check in with your physio and doctor and consider building in a weekly massage and ice/hot baths as part of your recovery regime.

Fueling your body

When fueling your body for a big swim it really starts the week before. Making sure you load up on plenty of good fruit, vegetables, meat, rice, pasta and hydrate throughout the whole week. On race morning, make sure you are up nice and early so you can have time to eat breakfast. I would suggest a meal that you have tried in training that will sit well in your tummy, something that is light and will fuel you for your race. I also like to have a gel about 30 minutes before racing for extra carbohydrates and sugar.

Warm up

Warming up your body before you start will ensure you are ready to go right from the gun.

An easy swim of about 5-10 minutes should warm up your body followed by 5-10 reps of 15 stroke sprints will fire up your heart rate so your body won’t go into shock when you expect it to go fast right from the start. I also like to spend 30 minutes stretching and breathing. I feel this helps my mind and body relax and puts me into a headspace where I need to be before swimming.

The swim

Every time you are lucky enough to spend time in the ocean, respect it and love it for all that it is.

There is always a sense of relaxation and connection with the water so take this into your race and love every minute of joy and hurt you experience as this is all part of racing. Be smart, look for people in front of you to swim in their feet, read the ocean for rips for a quicker route out, ensure your goggles are set tight so there is no leakage, find the rhythm that suits you and don’t get too focused on people around you. Most of all have confidence in the preparation you have done.

Courtney Hancock running on beach
Trevor Hendy emerges from the water in the Aussie Ocean Swim


By Trevor Hendy, Six-time Australian Ironman champion and four-time Ironman series winner.

There’s always a temptation to see an organised swim as purely a race but relax into it and you’ll find there’s so much more to ocean swimming than simply coming first. When you relax, flow and feel the water it’s an opportunity to connect with that deeper part of yourself that doesn’t always get to shine through in the busy-ness of life. Don’t just tick your swims off, immerse yourself fully.

Here are my top 5 tips to help you get the most out of your experience and swim faster for longer.

1. Breathing

Ocean swimming requires rhythm that you can only truly get from relaxing. Breathing deeper into your diaphragm before you go swimming will calm you down. If you can train yourself to breathe deeper whilst swimming, you will also get the benefit of more flotation (air) at a lower point to your torso. Deeper breathing allows you to let go of tension and relax.

2. Reach and Roll

The straighter you are, the more you will cut through the water and even plane higher in the water. Reach towards your destination, this will straighten you out. When you allow yourself to roll, you can also cut through the bumps and chops that ocean swimming greets you with. It also gives your body momentum and rhythm. It is just a gentle pivot from the hips.

3. Jazz hands

Relax your fingers, don’t grip them. Firstly this allows you to connect and grab more water. But it also passes the relaxation all the way down your hands, wrists and arms, saves energy and strength, gives you a better feel for the water and puts your focus in the right areas, not into tense arms and shoulders.

4. Find landmarks

Where possible find high landmarks above your swimming target so you can see them easily from the water. Look for your landmarks when at the top of swells, not at the bottom.

5. Slipstream

Utilise the slip stream provided by others. Get into that vortex behind their feet. Don’t tap their feet, that won’t end well. In extreme conditions, you can save up to 20% effort or go 20% faster. We are meant to live life occasionally slipping into the slipstream of others, that’s why we have relationships and don’t do everything alone. Be like the geese flying home for winter, take turns at the front.


Surf Life Saving Australia thanks our event partners who are helping us organise The 2021 Aussie Ocean Swim.



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