The Swimland Great Australia Day Swim may just tick a box or two for you! Fun, ocean swimming and fundraising combined together at one event make a great family day out.

The Rotary Club of Brighton Community Services Director, Stuart McIntyre told me “It’s about helping people master the step from pool swimming to ocean swimming while building their confidence so they can swim longer distances. Over the past decade over $500,000 has been made.”

The inspiration for the event came from Past President Peter Sherman, who was a member of the Brighton Icebergers.  These passionate people swim daily in Port Phillip Bay at the historic Brighton Baths, regardless of the water temperature. As a result of Peter’s inspiration, the event has evolved to include varying swim lengths, market stalls, and live music.

Rotary Australia Day Swim
There are four length of swim to choose from.

Commencing with 500 entrants in 2010, there was only one event then. This year they are expecting to double the number of entries and offer four swims, all of varying lengths.

In keeping with the philosophy of encouraging children to conquer ocean swimming, there is a short 200m Junior dash which is held alongside the pier.  Parents and onlookers are on the pier, yelling support to their youngsters as they swim towards the beach. 

Rotary Australia Day Swim
Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Brighton managing the annual event in 2018.

Other events being held are the 650m intermediate swim, 1400m and the 2500m. The swims utilise the inside of the marina, around the pier and the breakwater, to finish on the beach.  Stuart McIntyre said there is one keen supporter; John Clarkson who has swum in the event each year!  John brings his sons, Jack and James along to swim in their age-related events, progressing through to the longer ocean swims.

Rotary Australia Day Swim Finish

A majority of entrants are looking to improve their personal best time. To enable accurate timing professionals are on hand to manage this and post results online. You can enter online at

Rotary Australia Day Swim
Funds raised help train school teachers in Vietnam to swim.

An important recipient of the funds that are raised is Swim Vietnam. Every day in Vietnam sixteen people die from drowning, with over half being children. Funds raised are used to train teachers to swim and to raise water safety awareness.  The teachers go out to train others, who in turn teach the children.  Funds are also used to support a variety of projects such as RYPEN, ROMAC and The Education Support Program of Bayside Community Information and Support Service Inc. (BayCISS).

Club History

Charted in 1973, the Rotary Club of Brighton is in District 9800. It is the third largest metropolitan Rotary club behind Sydney and Melbourne with 110 members. The current President is Norman Thomas.