Organisers say the Rottnest swim is not for children under 14.

Rottnest Channel Swim organisers have hit out at four students of a Claremont private school after they allegedly broke the race's age rules to take part at age 12.

Swimmers in the popular 19.7km open-water event on February 22 were required to be 14 or older because of its length, the water temperature and ocean conditions.

The Rottnest Channel Swim Association confirmed none of the underage swimmers was registered to compete and replaced another team, which pulled out without notifying organisers.

Association president David Corney said he was extremely disappointed with the boys and those who knew they were swimming in an internationally recognised event.

Mr Corney said one parent knew they were in the event because he was a member of the team's support crew but had denied knowledge of the age rule.

He said a decision on consequences of the boys' actions was pending but possible penalties included confiscating their event medals, withholding any photos taken of them at the finish, disqualification so their race times were invalid and banning them from the event for one or two years after they turned 14.

Their parents could also face a ban from the swim.

"Those parents who allowed their children to participate contrary to rules designed to protect their safety should consider the example they have set," Mr Corney said.

"If you don't like the rules, you are entitled to argue for change. You are not entitled to ignore them."

Mr Corney stood by the age limit, saying the swim was not suitable for children because they were more susceptible to hypothermia and likely to react differently to adults in an emergency. Several experienced adult swimmers needed medical treatment this year.

Mr Corney said the swim's strict and rigorous regulations were all designed for safety.

"No day is perfect and there is always a risk to swimmers," he said. "Substituting junior swimmers is absolutely the wrong thing to do."

The RCSA is investigating and plans to speak formally to the four families involved.

The families of the boys declined to comment.

'Substituting junior swimmers is absolutely the wrong thing to do.'" Channel Swim Association president *David Corney *

The West Australian

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