FIERCE rivals in any sporting contest, Bendigo and Ballarat will be vying to rule the swimming pool later this month.
There will be $5000 up for grabs when swimming clubs in both cities unite for the challenge.
The March 30 meet at Bendigo Aquatic Centre will be a multi-age qualifying meet and include multiple relays.
Bendigo Hawks will host the event at the Barnard Street pool.
The meet will run from 8am until 2pm.
"Bendigo and Ballarat have an ongoing rivalry in all other sports," said Ash Wain, had coach of the Bendigo Hawks Swimming Club.
"We want to transfer that sense of competition and town pride to swimming."
In what is a battle of the goldfields, the cities will have their eye on the Bendigo Advertiser-Courier Gold Plate.
As well as the chance to settle the score with long-standing opponents, the showdown will bring visitors to Bendigo for the swimming action.
The City of Greater Bendigo Major Events team has thrown its support into the swimming duel.
"The generous contribution from our group of Major Events partners helps attract new and unique visitors to Bendigo," said Terry Karamaloudis from the City of Greater Bendigo.
"This has a positive impact for the city."
Another head-to-head swim challenge will be hosted by Ballarat in winter.
"These series of events will help build the profile of swimming across central Victoria and is another strong regional competition," Karamaloudis said.
"From this series we can build a broader, stronger swimming community that can elevate Bendigo within the swimming ranks."
Bendigo Hawks and Bendigo East were in hot form at the Victoria Country long-course championships in January.
East was the number one club at the Central District championships.
The Hawks and East have many swimmers who have shone in a variety of disciplines and distances across a wide range of age groups this season.
Many of East's and Hawks' guns have broken records at district meets, achieved personal bests at state titles, and dominated school carnivals.
Several have or will be racing at national age titles.
A hectic summer has included long-course, short-course and sprint championships in Melbourne and venues across the state.
Entries for the Bendigo-Ballarat challenge close on Sunday, March 23.
Cost is $10 per event, and $300 per city for relay entries. Each swimmer will receive a swim cap.
For more details, email email@example.com or check with your club for age divisions and entry requirements.