The 2018 edition of the Western Australia’s annual Rottnest Channel Swim saw an uninvited guest disrupt the competition, as a 3-to-4-meter great white shark was spotted among the competitors over the weekend.
Spanning 19.7km and managed by the Rottnest Channel Swim Association, the Rottnest Channel Swim runs from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island in Western Australia, with swimmers participating as a solo, duo or team. The great white was spotted around the 12 km mark at about 10:30am, with swimmers within a 1km radius of the spot pulled from the water with their competition number cancelled.
Per ABC News, an event spokeswoman said that, ‘while some of the racers chose to get back in the water and finish the race, their results would not be officially recorded.’ A number of other competitors not affected by the evacuation reportedly electively withdrew themselves from the open water race as a result of the shark sighting.
“After 30 minutes of no additional shark sightings, the race is continuing as normal and race officials are monitoring all available information via the helicopters in the air and rescue vessels on the water,” the statement read.
Shark threat ends Rottnest Channel Swim for hundreds of competitors https://t.co/1aSfoTRInd #perthnews pic.twitter.com/W0OUqb0OgW
— Breaking News Perth (@perthbrk) February 24, 2018
Despite the race shake-up, Western Australia’s Soloman Wright took the men’s race title in a new Rottnest Channel record of 3:59.28, while the women’s field saw Heidi Gan take the top prize in 4:21.55.