History of Malabar Magic

Murray Rose Malabar Magic Ocean Swim

The Short History – 2009 – 2018

A good long challenging Swim runs from Malabar Beach swimming in Long Bay in South Eastern Sydney. The swim is run by the Rainbow Club of Australia and all money raised fund swimming lessons for children with a disability.


In 2009, the first edition was a destination swim from Malabar to Little Bay. It was named the Stockland Malabar to Little Bay Challenge. The great HG Nelson was the announcer on the day and quickly applied his marketing skills and brilliant use of phonetic STRINE to coin the name THE MALABR MAGIC. And the name stuck.

Mike Whitney. Neil Rogers and HG Nelson at the start of the first swim.

On that day in 2009, the Rainbow Club corralled about 200 swimmers who braved cyclonic weather and bay full of salps (blubbery little things) to swim the first event of the swim that has become the Malabar Magic

The Malabar Magic Ocean Swim has grown to be a great success …..widely recognised as the most inclusive swim on the circuit in Australia if not the world.

Each year the Malabar Magic has around 1000 oceans swimmers and raises around $100,000 which is directed to the work of Rainbow Club providing one on one swimming lessons for over 650 children with disability at 20 different clubs each week.

Established by late great Murray Rose and Rob Lloyd, the swim organisers have always had the desire to make it “the swimmers swim” and all decisions on how to run the swim have had the swimmers comfort and enjoyment as the key guiding principle.

Upon Murrays early passing in 2012 the swim was named Murray Rose’s Malabar Magic. Murray would be proud of the ongoing success of the swim and the support it gives his beloved Rainbow Club.


A happy but windblown Murray Rose with co-founder Rob Lloyd (as usual with a phone stuck to his ear.


A couple of buffy blokes have a dip

One of the greatest accolades for the swim is the encouragement it has given swimmers with a disability to participate. James Pittar the blind marathon swimmer who is an ambassador of the Rainbow Club after last year’s swim wrote

“It was a historic day for ocean swimming in relation to the fact that amongst the 800 or so swimmers over the 3 swims of 250 metre, 1km, and the 2.4km every disabled group was involved.

I don’t know of any other swim in the world to date to where on the one day in an ocean swim thatA deaf,A blindAn Amputee, A wheelchair, A Cerebral Palsy, A Special Olympian, An Autism and a Downs syndrome person swam in the ocean on one day”

Last year’s 10th anniversary the swim has successfully developed a team and fundraising culture and this year raised over $200,000 with over 14 teams entering a fundraising challenge to raise $10.000 each and swim 10 Kilometres. Two of the teams are comprised solely of Rainbow Club children. They were presented at a launch in November 2017 which was attended by Dawn Fraser, the Premier and a cast of swimming super stars like Dan Kowalski and Matt Aboud who will also be at the swim and starting it this Sunday.



2018 Launch event with Dawn Fraser and NSW Premier Gladys Berjiklian and Rainbow Club kids.