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Rottnest Channel Crossing Goes Swimmingly for StudentsPosted in Achievements on Friday, 8 March, 2019




Three Mandurah Catholic College boys made their community proud with their recent efforts in successfully completing the Rottnest Channel Swim. Year 11 student Oakleigh McDonald swam the 19.67 kilometres solo, while Year 11 Joel Keeble and Year 10 Ben Riebeseel swam the length as a duo.

‘The Freshmen’ team of Joel and Ben finished the crossing in 5 hours and 43 minutes. The duo also raising $1129.00 for Muscular Dystrophy WA, with the Mandurah Mail picking up the story of the boys’ success. What’s more impressive is that it’s two years since Ben broke his neck at a private swimming training session. Ben also completed the swim in 2019 as a part of a team of four.

Last year Oakleigh completed the swim as a part of the same team of four, but this year he was unable to find a partner to compete with. Instead of bowing out, Oakleigh thought, “Hey, I’ll just do it by myself.” Swimming nearly 20 kilometres and being in the water for such a long period of time is sure to concern anyone. Oakleigh said, “Leading up to this event was one of the most stressful months of my life as I had never swum this distance beforehand, however I kept the mindset that I could indeed make the 20 kilometres. On the morning of the swim the atmosphere was great as a lot of people looked just as nervous as I was. The weather however, was perfect with there being very little wind and the water being perfectly flat and calm.” When asked how he prepared himself on the day, Oakleigh said, “Before the swim I had to place zinc on both my arms and rub myself in wool fat to be able to keep warm during the swim.” Out of 311 solo swimmers on the day, Oakleigh impressively placed 58 and number four (4) in his 16 to 19 age group. He completed the crossing in just over six (6) hours and was the youngest finisher of the day.

The first Rottnest Channel Swim crossing was held in 1956 and took the winner 9 hours and 45 minutes to complete. In comparison, our MCC boys have done very well and can be proud of their fantastic efforts.