This month will mark the 14th running of the Margaret River Ocean Swim, where participants will take to the water at Gnarabup beach on Saturday January 23.
The one kilometre swim established by Margaret River's Swimming Women group has become an increasingly popular annual challenge for locals and visitors from around the State.
"Swimming in the ocean compared to the pool is like going from a road bike to a mountain bike," explained Swimming Women head coach Charlotte O'Beirne.
Thanks to support from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Ms O'Beirne has been running free ocean swimming classes over summer to help participants feel more comfortable swimming in open water ahead of the event.
"Many people feel apprehensive about swimming in the ocean and the free ocean classes are a fantastic way to familiarise yourself in a safe setting and also make friends along the way," she said.
"There are lumps and bumps and varying conditions you need to be able to adjust to.
"Learning how to sight is also really useful so you don't end up swimming unnecessary distance when you're out in the open water and also don't crash into someone!"
Ms O'Beirne said ocean swimming was a hot favourite in the South West, and with many missing a spot in the Busselton Jetty Swim, she hoped to see those people sign up to the Margaret River event.
"It doesn't matter how experienced people are or how far the swim is, participating in an event is always exhilarating.
"Even though the event is run by Swimming Women the event is for both men, women and competent children.
"Anyone who wants to learn to swim in the ocean will really benefit from the classes and have fun doing the ocean swim."
As participation is the focus, swimmers can wear flippers, a pull-buoy or even a wetsuit if it makes them feel more comfortable and confident to take part.
The next class will be held on January 13, starting at 7.30am.
Entries ($29pp) to the 2021 Margaret River Ocean Swim are open online only until 21 January or until sold out.
Sign up for the swim and the free classes at www.swimmingwomen.com.au
For more information contact race director Charlotte O'Beirne on 0447 698 822 or email@example.com