Palau to host “Palau Open Water Weekend”

Written by Billy Brown

Mark your calendars this June - Palau Swimming Association will be hosting its annual Open Water Aquatics Festival “Palau Open Water Weekend”.  This event has evolved over the years from a one-day Open Water race to a full three-day weekend that includes adventure swims and Water Polo set in Palau’s pristine Rock Islands.

Although the weekend has all of the Open Water events, Palau National Swim Team puts together an International Training Camp geared for competitive swimmers from around the world to take part in a four-day swim camp.  With the outside teams and the Palau National Swim Team coming together during this event, the training sessions will be focusing on race-based workouts, video analysis, stroke work, and mental training.  During the middle of the day the swimmers will be going on Daily Excursions which will include a hike to beautiful Waterfall, a beach day, a Kayak excursion, and a Rock Islands Tour.  At the end of the camp, there is a two-day swim meet (the Palau Invitational) at the National Swimming Pool, which local kids come and out and participate in this special and fun competition.

Come Friday, the real fun begins as the “Palau Open Water Weekend” really gets going.  This year will be the first year that there will be Open Water Water Polo.  Set in protected cove in the Rock Islands, there will be a Water Polo course set up, with numerous fun games going on throughout the day.  A BBQ lunch will be served on the boats, and players and swimmers alike can take part in the fun, or watch from a floatie on the side.

The Signature event of this festival is the Palau Open Water Race set off of Palau’s most prestigious resort (Palau Pacific Resort) which has one of the most beautiful beaches imaginable.  The race will be offering distances from the 250m, 500m, 1500m, 3K, and even the 5K.  The 3K and 5K events swim out and around “One Tree Island” and back.  The race will have the swimmers swimming over unique corals, filled with all kinds of reef fish.  At the end of the event, the swimmers receive their awards at the special Dinner function later on that evening to celebrate everyone’s swims and accomplishments.

The last day of the festival, is always everybody’s favorite; the Rock Island Adventure Swims.  This “one of a kind” swim will take the swimmers into a UNESCO World Heritage Site where the swimmers will be treated to two unforgettable “adventure” swims. 

The morning swim is roughly a 3-4K and is scheduled to swim down the coral reef and wall of the most pristine dive site in Palau.  Over the years swimmers have seen numerous (and nice) reef sharks, turtles, eagle rays, and every color of fish imaginable at this spectacular location.  The second swim is scheduled to weave in and around our beautiful Rock Islands for about a 2K, and finish by swimming through a rare opening in a Rock Island that is known as “Soft Coral Arch” (which is surrounded by unique feather and fan coral), that leads to the most picturesque finish imaginable. Neither one of the swims is considered a race, and the swimmers are encouraged to simply enjoy the view as they swim across the best locations in Palau.

In between the two swims, the group will boat off to another remote island where they will have a BBQ lunch with an abundance of local foods and refreshments, as well as time to enjoy a shady spot under a tree and enjoy the view. 

The Palau Open Water Weekend has everything that an aquatic enthusiast could ever want or even imagine.  Now in it’s thirteenth year, this event is one everyone should experience.  For more information about the event you can contact, Palau’s National Team Head Coach Billy Brown at palauswimming@gmail.com for the event manual or check out more information at “Palau Swimming” on Facebook.

 




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