The swimming surgeon – A Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim story.

The swimming surgeon – A Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim story.

By day, Dieter Gebauer is Clinical Associated Professor and Head of Oral & Maxillofacial surgery at Royal Perth Hospital. He’s a devoted and caring father and has also been nominated in the People’s Choice “40 under 40” for his work and singular entrepreneurial spirit in his field.

And that’s perhaps not even the most interesting thing about him. Associate Professor Gebauer is also well known in swimming circles as a multi-time winner of the world-famous Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim.

“My father used to be a submariner back in World War II”, quips Gebauer over the phone from his office at Perth Royal Hospital, “so he really pushed swimming as something important to learn – he definitely got me started”.

“The Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim has a long history of medical professionals participating but I started competing from a very young age. I did two solos – one in ‘93 and the other in ’94, which I won when I was 15 years old.”

“The year I won, we ran into a Collin’s Class submarine. We just had to pull up in the middle of the channel while this thing chugged past.”

After his solo career, Gebauer worked with various swimmers in duo teams, going on to win or come extremely close to winning the event numerous times. Humble in success, he points to the many supporters he and his teammates have been fortunate enough to maintain over the years.

“I’ve had the same skipper the whole time I was competing – he taught me the biggest lesson, which is always do what the skipper says! They’re the one that’s going to get you out of trouble, help read the swell and currents and get you back at the end of the day. You may think your job (swimming) is tough, but they’ve got the toughest job on the day by far.”

Asked about what it’s like swimming the channel, Gebauer is quick to point out that Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swimmers are a breed unto their own. “It’s a hard thing to do, no doubt, but the sense of achievement from having put in the effort and got to the end is an amazing feeling”.

“You’ve got to train like you play – hard! In many ways it’s about how long you can deal with suffering. If you can suffer harder than the next person then you can beat them.”

For more information about the Karma Resorts Rottnest Channel Swim go to

Written by andrio angga

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