Triathlon stars join family splash

AQUATHON 

THE elite Wollongong Wizards triathlon squad will add some star power when the Splash and Dash Festival kicks off in Wollongong on Saturday.

International female hotshot Gwen Jorgensen (USA) will headline the women's field in the 2 kilometre North Kiosk Basin2Beach Swim fresh from her recent Moololabah World Cup win, as will defending 2 kilometre men's champion Bryan Keane (Ireland).

Australia's Commonwealth Games representative Aaron Royle will also compete, as will under 23 world champion Charlotte McShane among a host of other international talent.

Organiser Rob Battocchio said it was thrilling to have a showcase of elite athletic talent for locals to participate alongside.

"With seven event distances, there are children and beginner-friendly formats, right up to more challenging distances," he said.

"It really is about having a go, participation and community fitness and charity support."

The swim action kicks off on Saturday with the kids' 350 metre and 800 metre events at 9.45am, with the 2 kilometre to follow at 10am, all starting at Belmore Basin, in Wollongong Harbour.

"The kids' 350 metre basin splash is perfect under 14 with a safe and sheltered swim in Belmore Basin," Battocchio said.

"The 800 metre basin swim takes in a lap of the harbour and a taste of open water, with the signature 2 kilometre North Kiosk Basin2Beach expected to attract the more serious swimmers."

The action will continue on Sunday sees aquathon and fun run events.

The Kids Try A Aqua 150 metre swim and 2 kilometre run will begin at 8.45am ahead of the Mini Aqua (250 metre swim, 2.5 kilometre run) and Big Aqua (650 metre swim, 5 kilometre run).

The City Beach Fun Run, with both 5 kilometre and 2.5 kilometre family-friendly courses, begin at 10am from Lang Park head up and over Flagstaff Hill, to southern end of Wollongong Golf Course, to return and finish in Flagstaff Reserve.

The shorter Kids and Family 2.5 kilometre circuit follows the same course but turns at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Entry and details online at aquathon.com.au with late entry on the day from 8am at City Beach surf club.

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