In a historic moment that will undoubtedly resonate for years to come, the 2023 Open Water Secondary Schools Championships, proudly presented by the City of Cockburn, took place at Coogee Beach on November 24. With over 400 swimmers eagerly representing their schools, this inaugural event marked the beginning of what promises to be a recurring event for years to come.
The competition featured a diverse range of swimming distances—250m, 500m, and 1km—alongside an exciting relay event. The participating swimmers, divided into three age categories—years 7 & 8, years 9 & 10, and years 11 & 12—competed in both male and female divisions.
Shenton College emerged as the frontrunner for supporting individual swimmers, attending the event, to compete in the relays. Margaret River Senior High School received the SPIRIT award, embodying the values of Safety, Passion, Integrity, Respect, Inclusion, and Teamwork throughout the entirety of the competition.
The champions on each distance were Atlan Devin (Shenton College) and Niamh Dickson (Penrhos College) in the 250m event. Meanwhile, Lachlan Bean (St Mark's Anglican Community School) and Anouk Potter (St Georges Anglican Grammar School) dominated the 500m. In the 1km event, generously sponsored by the WA Salt Group, Lucas Fackerell (Prendiville Catholic College) and Eleanor Flowers (Carine Senior High School) emerged as champions.
In the 4x250m relay female category, it was Methodist Ladies College who secured gold, followed by the silver-winning combined team of St Mary's Anglican Girls' School and All Saints' College and the bronze-medalist St Georges Anglican Grammar School. In the male category, Hale School claimed the top spot, with Duncraig Senior High School securing second place and Carine Senior High School earning third place. In the mixed category, Shenton College emerged as the champion, followed by Mandurah Baptist College in second place and Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School securing the third position.
Participants expressed their enthusiasm in competing in open water swimming, acknowledging the unique opportunities it offers compared to traditional school swimming carnivals. The vast expanse of open water presented a challenge and an adventure, allowing a broader range of participants to test their limits.
Capturing the sentiment of many participants, Jodie Scheele, Head of Health and Physical Education at St Georges Anglican Grammar School, shared, "We got involved because we've got some very strong swimmers... They are mostly pool swimmers, but we wanted to have the experience of swimming open water, and it's just fantastic, so thanks very much, we'll be coming every year! Keep it going!"
Expressing his excitement, City of Cockburn’s Cr Tarun Dewan remarked, “It’s the first time I can see the beach come to life and thanks to all of you. All the teachers, principals, coaches, and Swimming WA.” With such celebration and the passion of all involved, the 2023 Open Water Secondary Schools Championships have laid the foundation for an enduring legacy in secondary school sports.
For full results from the 2023 Open Water Secondary Schools Championships, click here.