2023 Rottnest Swim

Bianca & Alyssa Milano with SMC swimming coaches

On a beautiful Perth morning, with an easterly wind at their backs, hundreds of keen swimmers took off from the shores of Cottesloe Beach, headed for Rottnest Island in the annual Rottnest Channel Swim.

Quite a large number of students from Santa Maria College participated in the event, with some forming teams while others opted to take on the solo crossing. Amongst them, Year 12 student Bianca Monaco’s performance was awe-inspiring.


Bianca Monaco with her sister Alyssa paddling alongside

Bianca made an impressive showing at the Swim, securing seventh place overall and earning the distinction of being the third female to cross the finish line. Notably, all three top female finishers broke the existing record. During the challenging race, Bianca was accompanied by her twin sister, Alyssa, who paddled alongside and provided invaluable moral support.

Although this was only Bianca’s second crossing of the channel, she has already been recognized as a rising star in the world of open-water swimming. The official Rottnest Channel Swim program highlighted her as one of the 2023 Champions of the Channel and one of the top 20 national open water swimmers.

To prepare for the race, Bianca followed a rigorous training schedule that included twice-daily two-hour sessions with varying distances and intensity. She explained that this training wasn’t just for the Rottnest Channel Swim, but also for other open water events throughout the year. In addition to the physical training, Bianca also had to carefully plan and organise logistics for the race day, including arranging for a boat, skipper, paddler, and feed times.

Despite the intense preparation, Bianca found the race to be challenging, particularly because it was the longest distance she had ever swum. She also juggles schoolwork with her demanding training schedule. Nevertheless, Bianca is committed to staying on top of her studies and seeking help if she needs it. Overall, she loves the Rottnest Channel Swim for its lively atmosphere and the opportunity it provides for swimmers of all skill levels to participate.

Bianca with fellow record breakers Chloe Truscott and Maddy Armstrong

Year 11 students Abigale Smith and Shayla Keane, joined forces with Max and Charlie Backhouse from Aquinas College, forming a team named ‘Did someone say KFC.’ The quartet even sported matching bathers, making a statement and showing they meant business!

Team 'Did Someone Say KFC'

Meanwhile, Year 12 students Alice Gosper, Alyssa Bateman, Eva Horak, and Izzy Teasdale banded together to form the team Salty Squids, showcasing their strength and determination in the challenging waters.

Team Salty Squids

Head Boarder, Alice Gosper said “My Favourite part of the day was crossing the finish line with my teammates, knowing that we had achieved something so great, and to be able to tick the swim off my bucket list! Meeting and swimming with the lifeguards from Bondi Rescue came in a close second though!”

Members of the IGSSA Swimming Squad who also swam the Rottnest Swim with SMC swimming coaches

Congratulations to all participants who swam in the Rottnest Swim, a tremendous achievement.

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