Race Preparation

  • Register at The Macquarie Bank Big Swim and/or The McGrath Pittwater Little Big Swim tent for your ankle band and swim cap. Registration opens at 7:30am for the Little Big Swim and 9am for the Big Swim.

  • Wearing a distinctive cap is compulsory for safety reasons; to ensure you’re seen clearly in the water, as well as identifying your wave number.

  • Bluebottles - please feel free to bring a rash vest to provide some protection in case of bluebottles.

  • Flippers are only acceptable in the Fins n Skins event.

  • Brown Bros Trucks will be in the parking area at Palm Beach, north of the pavilion. Trucks will be signed A, B, and C. Note which truck your belongings go in. Make sure you can easily identify your bag.

    At Whale Beach, there will be areas by the beachfront pine trees marked A, B, & C. Collect your personal gear there.

  • Make yourself comfortable, use the outdoor showers and male & female change facilities. Refresh with the BBQ food and drinks and stay for the Awards Presentation. Buses will take you back to Avalon Soccer Fields Parking or Palm Beach Ferry.

The Start

  • The start for The McGrath Pittwater Little Big Swim is 8:30am and The Macquarie Bank Big Swim will start at 10am.

  • Waves are generally staggered by gender and age. More detail on waves will be available closer to the time.

Electronic Timing

  • Each entrant is fitted with a secure ankle band with a unique computer chip.

  • At the finish, entrants run over a special pad equipped with sensors which read the chip, instantly tabulating the finishing time and referencing the entrant’s name.

  • Times recorded by the official electronic timing are the only acceptable times.

  • For those swimmers entering both The Macquarie Bank Big Swim and The McGrath Pittwater Little Big Swim, there are different timing anklets for each race. These should not be worn at the same time.

the big swim elite swimmers

Elite Swimmers

Wave 1 is known as the Elite Wave, and will be comprised of elite and other faster swimmers.

There are limited places available in the elite Wave. The top 10% will be determined by reference to the Order of Precedence maintained by oceanswims.com. Swimmers who have not competed in ocean swim before could submit a 1 km pool time for consideration.

For a space in the 2024 Elite Wave, please send an email to thebigswim@whalebeachslsc.com with details and attend the timing tent on the morning of the swim for approval. Entry will be closed 30 minutes before race start time at 9:30am.

Fins n Skins

The final wave of the race is the Fins n Skins event. This is only wave where flippers and wetsuits are allowed. Should you wish to swim join this wave, make sure you select Fins n Skins on the entry form.

The Finish

  • An electronic pad records your ankle band at the start and as you cross the finish line.

  • Results and winners posted as soon as possible for Awards Presentations.

  • Marshals will be positioned to take off your ankle straps.

  • Re-hydrate at the free water station.

  • Help yourself to the free fruit in the marquee shade.

  • Outdoor showers and enclosed change facilities.

  • Unisex toilets.


  • Stay for the Awards Presentation of prizes by Federal and local government members for top place getters in Big Swim age categories.

  • Quality 50th Event medals, T-Shirts, Rexona and Dove toiletries gift packs.

  • Lucky entrant number prizes. Great atmosphere, worth staying for.

  • Food and drinks available with seating, tables and sun umbrellas.

the big swim on the day

Whale Beach BBQ

Following the race, Whale Beach Surf Life Saving Club will be putting on a barbecue, serving sausage sandwiches, rissoles sandwiches and a selection of soft drinks, beers and wine.


  • FREE colourful Car stickers for all entrants.

  • Buy your eye-catching T-shirt, just $25.


Macquarie Bank logo
McGrath Pittwater logo
pittwater life
fanta sea cruising
Oceanfit logo 200
banana boat logo
Fresh Produce Group
Dove logo
Brown Bros Skip Bins
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Rexona logo