Starting Line Bell Ringer Tom Brown

3 February 2023

2023 Port to Pub: Starting Line Bell Ringer Tom Brown

The 2023 starting line bell ringer is Tom Brown, a long-time open water swimmer and one of the first people to swim from Cottesloe Beach to Rottnest Island. Tom’s first crossing was on 14 February 1987 when he spent 6 hours and 15 minutes in the water. He followed up that accomplishment with crossings in 1988 and 1989—successful both times in his “lucky blue Speedos.”

Born in Wyalkatchem, Tom spent most of his childhood in Claremont with the Claremont Jetty as his own backyard. He attended Claremont Primary and later Scotch College before moving to the United States in 1995 where he lived in the mountains of Wyoming for 20 years. The VHS tape of his second Rottnest swim was kept in an outdoor shed where it survived 20 seasons of sub-zero temperature winters. He finally returned home to reside in Cottesloe to rear his four children Deb, Pat, Damon, and Hannah.

Tom, a cancer survivor, is a member of the Beatty Park Bears, Claremont Aussie Masters, and Cottesloe Surf Club. He walks daily along the footpath between Cottesloe and Swanbourne and will be cheering on his son, Damon, who is the only person to have swum in every Port to Pub since its inaugural year in 2016.