WOW Challenge Open Water Championships


Challenge Yourself! – Sunday 5th March 2023

1.2km, 2.5km, 5km and 10km swims


Swim Courses

Wave Times

Results (NEW)

Media Gallery


Please click below sections for further WOW Challenge Open Water Championships information


On arriving at the beach, please proceed directly to the COLLECTIONS desk. Here you will be issued with your cap, and an event t-shirt, and then your timing band.

In accordance with our COVID Safety Plan, you are asked to maintain the 1.5m social distance both at the desk and other participants, and to wear a mask until you have left this area.

Please ensure you are unaccompanied in this queue, unless a companion is essential for effective communication or your physical welfare.


In accordance with our COVID Safety Plan, there is no bag drop facility available at this year’s event. You are advised not to bring any valuables to the beach with you. Any such items are left on the beach at your own risk. You are also requested not to leave any personal items on the club grounds. Please maintain safe social distancing on the beach, including between your bag and others.


In accordance with our COVID-Safe plan, this year’s event is a timed event. There will however be no specific start times for races or categories. Instead you will be allocated a start window.

Should COVID restrictions be eased by the Victorian Government, the race format may revert to a traditional race.


It is important to observe your allocated start window and every effort will be made to get everyone into the water punctually. While you wait, please maintain safe social distance by standing beside a marker within the marshalling lane/s at the start line.

Each competitor will be started individually. Start times will be taken from the supplied timing band as you cross the electronic start line. This event is a beach start only.

A safety briefing will be available on the WOW Challenge website from 5pm on Saturday February 20. It is your responsibility to view this briefing and familiarise yourself with the course. Live briefings will not be available on the day.

Please ensure you are unaccompanied in this queue, unless a companion is essential for effective communication or your physical welfare.


A feeding platform will be in place in the water for those requiring mid-swim nutrition. It will be supervised only – no feeding assistance will be available to competitors. No other persons will be permitted on or in the vicinity of the platform during the event.

Please secure your nutrition to the platform in a mesh bag, clearly marked with your name. Anyone observed interfering with, moving, or removing articles belonging to another competitor, will be requested to leave the water immediately. A DSQ or DNF may be recorded.


You must pass under the FINISH arch on the beach to obtain a race time.

Once you have passed under the arch, please remove your timing band as quickly as possible, place it in one of the marked tubs, and LEAVE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY.

There will be no post-swim refreshments available.


In line with our COVID Safety Plan, please bring your own bottled water supply and post-swim nutritional requirements. None will be supplied on the day.


In keeping again with our COVID Safety Plan, we politely ask spectators NOT to attend this event.

Should you require a companion to be present for medical or well-being purposes, they are requested to maintain safe social distance from all other competitors at all times, to wear a mask when in the vicinity of any official areas, and to only be in those areas for the minimum amount of time possible.

COVID-19 permitting, the WOW Challenge will still be held on 5th March 2023.

This year’s WOW Challenge will be run as a socially distanced open water swim.

The date is set for the biggest swim challenge in Melbourne this summer – Sunday 5th March 2023 at Williamstown.

To run a COVID safe event, we will not have the shorter distances this year.

1.2km, 2.5km, 5km and 10km swims only.

The Williamstown Open Water Championship – “The WOW Challenge” is Victoria’s world class, championship distance, open water swim event. The WOW Challenge is for everyone – champions, weekend warriors, kids, multiclass, fast, slow, young and old!

Past winners at Williamstown include 2015 World Champion Jordan Wilimovsky, Team USA’s Katy Campbell,  Australian Dolphin Sam Sheppard and Brazilian Olympian Lisandra De Carvalho.

The WOW Challenge is swum at Williamstown Beach on our famous championship 2.5Km course. This year we have a beach start and you will swim in an anti-clockwise direction.   Your first turn will take you around the Rock Groyne and over The Crystals, a local diving and snorkelling site. A left turn close to the boat harbour takes you out into deeper water and after another left turn, you’ll head East onto the legendary WOW Back Straight. With a final left turn, swimmers head back to the beach area, feeding station or finish arch on the sand.

NB. Weather conditions may see the course reversed back into a clockwise direction.  We want you to have any wind behind you on the back straight 🙂

WOW Enquiries

Follow this link to register, or  email us for more information.

WOW Volunteers

If you’d like to help out on the day (or before), please follow this link to sign up for volunteer duty,
or  email us for more information.

The event is conducted by the Williamstown Swimming and Life Saving Club. Swimmers of all ages and abilities will have the opportunity to choose from a range of swim distances.

The WOW Challenge provides the chance to swim with the best swimmers from around the world, is part of the Great Victorian Swim Series and raises funds for not-for-profit organisations.

All swimmers can receive a free event t-shirt and everyone can swim in a wetsuit if they choose to. Also, use of a fluoro swimming vest is optional.