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Thousands compete in world's largest open-water race in Australia

Lucas Dawson / Getty Images

Competitors start the race during the 2012 Pier to Pub on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 in Lorne, Australia.

Lucas Dawson / Getty Images

Competitor starts the race during the 2012 Pier to Pub on Saturday.

Lucas Dawson / Getty Images

Competitors race during the 2012 Pier to Pub on Saturday.

Mark Dadswell / Getty Images

A competitor bodysurfs as he nears the beach during the race on Saturday.

From Wikipedia: The Lorne Pier to Pub is an annual, 1.2-km open water swimming race held in January at Lorne, a town located on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. It began in the 1970s, when members of the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club dared each other to dive from the pier, swim through Louttit Bay and finish by body-surfing the waves onto the Lorne foreshore, before attending the Lorne Pub.

The race today consists of the same process. Contestants must register for a ballot to take part. Swimmers times are recorded at the finish line, and published in the Herald Sun Newspaper the next morning. The race is completed on average in 22 minutes, but the quickest race time is 10 minutes, 30 seconds.

The race attracts up to 4,000 competitors, and in 1998, it entered the Guinness Book of Records, with 3071 swimmers, making it the world’s largest open water swim. The race is organised by the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club with major partner Nib, and supported by the Rotary Club of Highton. Proceeds from the race go to the Lorne Surf Life Saving Club.