Andrew Donaldson was the first to finish in the 2021 Rottnest Channel Swim — less than a year after his return to Perth in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Donaldson crossed the line in a time of 04:04:30 in the 19.7km swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island in Perth, Western Australia. The 30-year-old finished more than six minutes in front of second finisher, William Rollo.
Donaldson, who came out of retirement to take part in the event, started training for the swim 10 months ago upon his return to Perth.
“This time a year ago I was backpacking on the other side of the world, running away from life. I came back to Perth in the height of COVID and was lucky to have some phenomenal people around me who encouraged me to get back into the water…and that’s where the idea to have a go at the solo came from,” said Donaldson.
Around the same time Donaldson returned to Perth, he helped form a swimming business named Swimclan that works specifically with adults and aims to improve their technique, skills and confidence in the water regardless of their age, experience or abilities.
Since the program was formed, a vast array of adults have now been motivated to attempt swimming for the first time. The business also provides regular articles and posts detailing swimming tips on technique, drills, open water swimming, diet plans, stretches, tactics and training.
The growing success of Swimclan also attracted numerous elite athletes to represent the brand in the duo and team categories of the Rottnest Channel Swim.
‘Swimclan Big Orse’s’ took out the team category in a fraction over 4 hours and 14 minutes. Included within the team was former Olympic swimmer, Travis Nederpelt, former Rottnest Channel winners Paul Laver and Brad Smith and half marathon champion, Nathan Saunders.
‘Swimclan Bigrigs’ also claimed second in the Duo category in 4 hours and 24 minutes, comprised of former Rottnest Channel winner, Jarrad Lawford, and champion triathlete, Jonney Sammut.
The competitors representing Swimclan also raised nearly $9,000 for the Kai Eardley Foundation, a charity raising awareness and funds for young men’s mental health.
More than 2500 competitors — aged between 14 and 76 — dived into the surf at Cottesloe to take on the gruelling conditions for the annual event.
More than 400 swimmers took on the channel solo, with 166 duos and 444 teams also completing the crossings, making the Rottnest Channel Swim one of the largest open water swimming events worldwide.
Want to check out Swimclan? Visit swimclan.com.au or find them on social media at: