Swimming to Rotto

In Uncategorized by Charlotte OBeirne

Swimming to Rottnest Island, to me, is a very West Australian thing to do. Having moved to WA it was something I did to feel a little more local…..that’s where it began anyway.

The Channel swim provides many opportunities for a brilliant experience and a fantastic personal challenge as a member of a 4 man team, a duo or solo or even as a paddler, skipper or part of the support crew but only if you are prepared.

Every year there will be numerous people on the beach, in a boat, or on a ski that haven’t done the training and think “she’ll be right”. From my experience of completing the swim 8 times the best crossings are the ones where I was most prepared and had done a good level of training, as had my crew and teammates. Now is the time to decide if you want to do the swim next year, to give yourself the time to get prepared and set yourself up for a fantastic day out.

Where to start?

Get your stroke right first – 20K is a long, long way with a bad stroke and increasing training levels can be set back by injury. Take the time to work on your stroke before you crank up the distance.

How much training?

The Rottnest Channel Swim Association website makes the following recommendations:

Solo or Duo – If you already swim continue your normal workload until September/October. If you’re unfit, start doing some light work in June/July/August.

Teams- Can probably wait until October depending on background fitness.

Don’t over train early. You’re making a major change to your normal lifestyle, and this is hard to maintain for too long. Make sure you build slowly. By late December aim to reach:

Solos – 25km per week
Duos – 20km per week
Teams – 15km per week

Duos need to do nearly as much training as solos. I found my duo swim to be just as taxing as a solo swim, and, in addition, if your partner gets sick or tired, you may need to swim more than half the race yourself.

How many times per week and how far per session?

All training needs to revolve somewhat around personal preference, to fit in with lifestyle, and existing base fitness. As a guide:

Solos – Until November: 3-4 sessions, average 4km per session
November – February: 5-6 sessions, average 4-5km per session

Duos – Until November: 3-4 sessions, average 3km per session
November – February: 5 sessions, average 3.5-4.5km per session

Teams – Until November: 3 sessions, average 2-3km per session

November – February: 3-4 sessions, average 3-4km per session


Entries for the race open the first week of November, sadly with no guarantee of a place, and although that seems ages away, really do think about it now. It helps to line up your skipper in advance as no boat no swim. It would be amazing to have lots of Swimming Women and Swim[Men] and even those Swim~Girls who are old enough over on the Island, having swum there, and feeling fantastic!