Above: Rottnest Channel is a popular start for ocean swimmers.

Below are Nicky Piha's favourite swims from around the world.



A personal favourite of mine, Moloka'i is a tough swim with great fringe benefits. Based in Hawaii you'll have some nice views while you wait to hit the water, and it's a must if you want to tackle the Oceans Seven.

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The Moloka'i Channel (also known as the Ka'iwi Channel, meaning the Channel of Bones or Canal de Molokai in Spanish) is a waterway between the islands of O'ahu and Moloka'i in the State of Hawaii. The nearly always rough channel is 41.8 kilometers (26 miles wide) with an abundance of marine life including sharks, jellyfish, whales, turtles and dolphins. Its maximum depth is 2300 feet (701 meters).



It may not be easy but the English Channel is often an open water swimmer's first big swim. Dover to Cap Gris Nez is where I realised how much a support person is a big part of what long distance swimming is all about. My Passion Lies in the English Channel 

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It is about 560 km (350 miles) long and varies in width from 240 km (150 miles) at its widest, to only 34 km (21 miles) in the Strait of Dover. It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi).



Leave it to Americans to make a marathon fun. Manhattan is a long swim that asks a lot of you but it's also so popular that organisers and the locals have it down to an art. Much like Molokai it's a great location to wind down in.

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The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim or MIMS is one of the world's most popular marathon swims. Its highly sought-after entries are coveted by marathon swimmers and channel swimmers around the world. As one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims, the extraordinarily popular 28.5-mile circumnavigation swim around Manhattan Island in New York City never fails to challenge and excite its competitors.



This is where it all started for me. Robben Island is a beautiful island swim with big challenges for open water swimmers. If you take the plunge be ready for chilly water and some inquisitive sharks.

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Robben Island is located in Table Bay, where the water temperature is usually around 12 degrees C. Traditionally used a a leper colony and a prison island, Henry Hooper completed the first crossing in 1909, since when it has become an iconic swim - both in South African and international open water swimming circles. While a single crossing is considered to be quite an achievement, in March 2016 Theordore Yach of Cape Town completed his 100th crossing! In 1926 Peggy Duncan of Johannesburg - then aged 15 - won the first Robben Island race, before becoming the first South African to swim the English Channel in 1930. Over the years a various swimmers have held the record for a crossing - Springbok surf lifesaver Mark Egde of Port Elizabeth holding it for a number of years.