Shark scare changes Busselton Ironman course

Swimmers were forced to abandon the swim leg of the Ironman event in May last year due to a shark sighting.
Swimmers were forced to abandon the swim leg of the Ironman event in May last year due to a shark sighting.

Ironman have changed the Busselton swim course for future events due to shark sightings in Geographe Bay at its last two events.

Event orgnaisers have decided to keep the swim event no further than 300 metres offshore and will be a two loop swim for the Ironman event and a one loop swim for the 70.3 event.

In a statement released by Ironman, it stated that all swims would have a common starting point in front of The Goose on the right hand side of the Busselton Jetty.

The Ironman WA and IRONMAN 70.3 WA swim courses would turn left under the jetty and the  Ironman 70.3 Busselton swim course would remain on the right hand side.

“As a global organisation Ironman operates events in a variety of locations across the world and extreme weather conditions and the unpredictability of the forces of nature can from time to time require the modification or the cancellation of an event,” a spokesperson said. 

“Athlete safety is and always has been our primary focus and anytime a situation requires the modification or the cancellation of a course or event.

“A comprehensive event review is undertaken which includes course and venue design, staffing, safety, contingency planning and event day execution.”

In May, hundreds of Ironman swimmers were stopped from entering the water after a 2.5 metre shark was spotted in Geographe Bay by a Surf Life Saving WA helicopter.

Some swimmers were still in the water when the shark was spotted and were forced to leave the water and abandon the swim leg.

An Ironman spokesperson said the re-designed courses would allow for better risk management strategies which in turn will reduce the likelihood of a swim cancellation.

“A swim that is closer to shore is less exposed to the weather making for better swim conditions.

“In either a mass swim evacuation scenario or any individual water related incident, swimmers and/or water safety staff can make shore in a substantially quicker time than on the previous course.”

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