25 Years Swim History

Max Higgins, Clare Anderson, Wendy Paine are all Busselton Allsports Inc. committee members showcasing the replica Busselton Jetty sea huts that will be on display at the Exhibition. Photo supplied.
Max Higgins, Clare Anderson, Wendy Paine are all Busselton Allsports Inc. committee members showcasing the replica Busselton Jetty sea huts that will be on display at the Exhibition. Photo supplied.

Since it's humble beginnings back in 1996 when local resident Max Higgins had a crazy idea of swimming around the Busselton Jetty and 81 others followed, to now, in 2020 when 3300 children and adults will take to the water, the SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim has become renowned nationally and internationally for being a home grown, grass roots, community and participatory event.

To commemorate the swim's 25th Silver Anniversary, the founding members, along with the organising committee have been working hard on collating all the history of the event for a month long exhibition at Railway House commencing Thursday January 16 through to Wednesday February 12, 2020.

Alongside Max Higgins since the early days has been his wife, Jenny Higgins and friends Leanne and Richard Ford.

The Higgins and Fords often have a laugh as they reflect on where they all started from, when the swimmers received a time scribbled on a soggy raffle-ticket as they ran across the finish line, with the awards presented off Max's card table and team change overs from the back of a boat.

Where as now, when all the timings and records are digital, the awards are held in the foreshore amphitheatre main stage and team change overs are supported by the 120 plus volunteer pool required for event day.

Busselton Allsports Inc secretary Rhonda Stubbs said the preparation for the jetty swim exhibition has been such a pleasure, as it has been a walk down memory lane.

"The archived article, images and memorabilia reflects the essence of the event ~ community, participation, people and purpose," she said.

"The exhibition is going to be a reminder of where the homegrown grassroots open water swim started and how it has grown to where it is today.

"We have had many laughs when we look back at the raw basics that we dragged from our kitchens or made out of our sheds".

For many visitors to Railway House, it will be a lesson in Busselton's history and how this event has impacted on the community and promoted the region and Jetty worldwide.

The SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim 25th Silver Anniversary year will be launched on Saturday February 8 with a free family concert featuring headline act Eskimo Joe, the Battle of the Bands 2020 Finals and local sea shanty group The Anchor Men.

The night will conclude with a fireworks display.