The Borough Coutas Swimming Club established the Queenscliff Blue Water Challenge in 1990.

The Swim’s objectives historically challenge the swimming club’s members; fund-raise for the club, support local junior swimmers; and promote swimming in the Geelong and Bellarine region. Unfortunately due to a number of reasons the swimming club retired the swim indefinitely.

This historic, 26th event will be held at Queenscliff on the 27th January 2018. The event is now known as the “Queenscliff 180”. The swim engages 600 swimmers annually, with 600-1000 spectators and tourists throughout the day, promoting the Borough of Queenscliffe across Victoria. LASS Pty Ltd have commercial rights too the Queenscliff Blue Water Challenge Event under a with a commercial arrangement in place to donate $5.00 per paying entry for two years to the Borough Coutas Swimming Club.

The swim remains part of the Great Victorian Swim’s known as the “Cousins Victoria Swim Series”. Queenscliff will be recognised as a key swimming community on the Victorian coast for years to come.

Swim directors backgrounds:

In September 2017, Liam Petrie-Allbutt and Sam Sheppard teamed up to resurrect the historic Blue Water Challenge open water swim. The aim was to save the popular swim from retirement and maintain its rich history in the Borough of Queenscliffe and wider Bellarine community.

Liam Petrie-Allbutt has successfully co-run the Rip View Swim Classic for three consecutive years; significantly improving its profitability for the club’s fund raising effort; as-well as improving the swim’s interaction with local traders, local community members. Liam co-initiated the 3.8km Rip View Swim Classic in 2015 with Kevin Carland (RVSC director), which runs from Queenscliff to Point Lonsdale. This event is an annual sell-out.  Liam was recognised in 2016 as the Borough of Queenscliffe’s "Young Citizen of the Year". Liam's Nippers in School Program was also recognised in 2017 as the Borough of Queenscliffe's "Community Service of the Year".

Sam Sheppard is a semi-retired professional open water swimmer who has competed around the world for the Australian Swim Team. The next step was always going to be putting pack into the sport that he loves as well as local charities around the surf coast where he has grown up.

Queenscliff180 Family Swim's Value Proposition:  

  • To raise money for 1 x local cause and 1 x social cause each year (50/50 proceed distributions).

  • To promote the Borough of Queenscliffe as a tourist destination, promoting local commerce, and supporting local community groups including Surf Life Saving, Rotary, Coast Guard, The Red Cross and the local Historical and Maritime Museums through add on fundraising opportunities.

  • To promote health fitness and well being.

  • To promote swimming, water safety, and water awareness in the community.

  • To promote a family friendly community event and ensure this successful event remains feasible and sustainable in the Borough of Queenscliff ongoing.

2018-19 Plan & Objectives:

  • Re-brand the swim to a new name: Queenscliff 180 – “Its Your Turn” which marks the swim as an Iconic Queenscliff swim through the icon branding referencing the iconic Queenscliff life boat shed; the Queenscliff Pier; white sand and Queenscliffs clean waters.  

  • Develop a festival atmosphere in the car park area with live music, local produce market stalls, and a jumping castle for the kids.  

  • Amend the swimming course to be a 180 degree perimeter arch swim from the car ferry terminal beach around the pier, finishing at the Queenscliff beach car park. This initiative will provide swim conditions which are more achievable for the whole family. The swim will no longer be a “challenge (the blue water challenge)” but an all-ages, safe swim.

  • A community benefiting / charitable / swim event: 50% of proceeds to be donated to Parkinson’s Disease Research for 2018. And 50% of proceeds to be donated to local based community initiatives such as youth homelessness, coast guard, red cross, salvation army, and/or primary school infrastructure.  

  • A sustainable restructure of swim operations - to engage wider community groups to equally benefit and volunteer, to raise money for their local community organisations (similar to how the pier to pub operates). Rotary, Coast Guard, Primary School, Red Cross, Maritime Museum and Historical Museum are all organisations on my list to support