King of the Bays – The Story (Part 1)

It all started with a knack for organising and a love of swimming back in 2003. In my early twenties I used to organise parties for my friends, quite big ones in fact. These parties taught me a lot about what makes a successful event. The venue, music, drink prices and good food were the key ingredients of a successful party. Most of all, I loved bringing people together and watching them enjoy themselves.

I retired from 13 years of competitive swimming and worked in various sales jobs in the early 2000’s. In 2003 I made the decision to travel overseas and see the World. It was whilst I was overseas that I started thinking about organising a swim from Milford to Takapuna Beach and getting into events on a part time basis.

I returned from overseas at the end of 2003 hugely excited about starting up this new open water swim. The recreational sporting events industry at the time was mostly filled with triathlons and multiport events so an open water swim on its own wasn’t something too many people were used to. The event was called the King of the Bays.

After naming the event (always the most important part J) I quickly realised there was a heap of work to be done. A logo, website and marketing plan was needed, but before I could get underway I had to frame up what the event was to look like and secure a naming sponsor. From the outset, I wanted to make this the highest profile open water swimming event in NZ…and to do that I needed NZ’s best swimmers and needed to put it on TV.

Scott Rice, Race Director, State NZ Ocean Swim Series