Open Water Swims 2020
About 18% confirmed, 8% unconfirmed, 5% suspended, 62% canceled, 7% defunct.
Hello and welcome to my catalog of 384 open-water swims in the US and then some. There are multiple regional schedules, with some overlap. Each schedule gives the basics to help you find swims to your liking: what, where, when, plus links to details. The criteria for listing are simple and liberal. A swim must be an annual event, open to a general adult audience, and held in the US or close-by. Its distance should be at least a mile or so, and a link to the swim's details must be available. Swims along the New Jersey Shore, my splashing grounds, get some extra attention. Here are the schedules:
- Jersey Shore & Philadelphia Vicinity
- New England: CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT
- Middle Atlantic: NJ, NY, PA
- South Atlantic: DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV
- East North Central: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI
- East South Central: AL, KY, MS, TN
- West North Central: IA, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, SD
- West South Central: AR, LA, OK, TX
- Mountain: AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY
- Pacific: AK, CA, HI, OR, WA
- Canada: BC, QC
- Offshore: BB, BM, BVI, GCI, GD, HT, SKN, TCI, VI
- The Whole Shebang
New for 2020
- There's now a page for Yet More Swims that don't fit into the schedules above for one reason or another, like short swims, boutiques swims, practice swims, and clinics.
- A swim flagged rescheduled is postponed to the listed date because the pandemic nixed the original date earlier in the season.
- A swim flagged suspended is in limbo as its organizers determine if the swim can either be held on its original date or be postponed to later this season.
- A swim flagged canceled is not offered this season but is expected to return next season.
- A swim flagged defunct appears to be gone for good but is listed for this last season—just in case.
- Virtualized swims are marked as canceled.
Did you notice a mistake on these pages? Do you know of another swim fitting the criteria for listing? Kindly enlighten me via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick guide to schedules
Each schedule sorts its swims by date, time, and name. Golden rules separate months. Unconfirmed dates and times, indicated by question marks, are estimated from last season. Canceled swims are denoted by lines through the date and time. Links under the Location column aim to map check-in. That target is tricky for some events, and thus these links are more reliably taken as initial heuristics. Some are unsuitable for final driving directions. In the Distance column, "mi" abbreviates mile(s) and "km" abbreviates kilometer(s). The More column names the body of water you'll be swimming in and gives the starting time. The time listed can be somewhat fuzzy. It is the starting time of the (first) race or of any pre-race meeting. Check-in usually closes earlier.
The More column may also include codes "Ⓓ," "Ⓚ," "Ⓡ," "Ⓜ," and "Ⓣ" for supplemental info. Ⓓ means that the event's timeline permits double-dipping when multiple distances are offered (you can swim more than a single race). Ⓚ means a kids' race of some sort is offered, usually a short splash-and-dash. Ⓡ means there's an option for relay teams. Ⓜ means that USMS has sanctioned the event in whole or in part, and you must be a USMS member to enter. Similarly, Ⓣ indicates that USAT membership is required.
There's more to say about location links. When you click on the location, your browser will take you to Google Maps, showcasing the swim. If instead of clicking, you rest your pointer (i.e., hover) over the location for a half second, the underlying address pops up along with its coordinates of latitude and longitude. You can use this info for your car's GPS navigator via copy-and-paste. Next come clickable symbols "🄱", "🄶", "🄼", and "🄾", which link to Bing Maps, Google Maps (as above), Mapquest, and OpenStreetMap, respectively. So, you've got some options to suit your cartographic tastes. When you tire of the pop-up, simply move your pointer away from the location column. All this pop-up panache is somewhat experimental; its fate is uncertain.
This is an artisanal and non-commercial website free of advertisements, trackers, web bugs, cookie monsters, and their ilk.
These notes started with a list of eleven swims in South Jersey for the 1999 season, when few events had websites. Their purview grew to about three dozen swims by 2013, mainly along the full Jersey Shore. A wintertime project to expand the scope, a little, seemed like a good idea during the Polar Vortex of 2014. Then my initial sources cascaded into still more sources. The hoped-for value added to these scattered sources is to provide a concise and reasonably comprehensive resource with convenient organization so that swimmers can find events quickly and easily.
The underlying database for these notes is ultimately a collection of links to the swims' websites. Each season, the links are checked for new dates; that's manual labor. From time to time, swimmers and organizers kindly email corrections, additions, and cancellations—friendly help that's appreciated. The original database recorded a handful of races then generally-known to open-water swimmers along the Jersey Shore. Posting these to a website was a hacker's natural expedience to replace bespoke emails sharing each season's schedule, to newcomers and regulars alike. Other swimmers maintained local schedules, too, some on paper and some online. These helped to seed the cascade of websites informing the current database. Now, the roster changes at the margins: a swim added here, a swim dropped there.
Once the database is updated, code takes over. And that's where the real fun begins. (Out-of-water fun, that is.)