In Australia and New Zealand there are a myriad of events to take your fancy, which means that, no matter whether you’re an elite athlete, a beginner or somewhere in between, there’s likely to be a swim to tempt you. Locally, events are run by enthusiastic teams of volunteers at surf lifesaving clubs. Length of swims vary from 350 metres (kids’ entry level), 500 metres, 1, 2, 5, kilometres and some in between. They are run in age categories, allowing lots of winners on the day, and with each group wearing different swimming caps, it makes for a colourful sight. The seasoned swimmer can be found taking part in the shorter races as a warm-up to the main event. They are a determined lot. In the Hunter region, Fingal Bay, Caves Beach, Blacksmiths Beach and Newcastle hold a yearly event, while the Northern Beaches and Sydney swims attract large numbers. Many of the swimmers are in it to win it, but others are happy just to take part, and for those bringing up the rear there is always applause and congratulations.