Open Water Swimming

Open Water Swimming

 | Thursday, March 16, 2017

Open Water swimming reached a new level of international exposure by becoming an official event at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.  Open Water swimming presents a unique set of challenges to swimmers.  There are no lane lines, walls, or starting blocks to dictate what it takes to win.  The elements often play a deciding role in determining the winner of an Open Water event.  The unpredictable conditions also make it possible for women and men to compete along side one another.  Many people are excited to get involved in Open Water swimming, either for a new twist on training or to take advantage of the expanding competitive opportunities.

In this section you'll find helpful information for athletes, coaches, and LSC's looking to put on an open water event.

Open Water Safety

It is common for USA Swimming member athletes to participate in open water competitions around the world on their own and not as a part of a USA Swimming team.  This is their right under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.  USA Swimming has no control over where an open water swimmer chooses to compete on his/her own or, unless sanctioned by USA Swimming, the conditions of the competition. 

Both USA Swimming and FINA have commissioned open water swimming task forces, which may propose new open water safety rules and guidelines applicable to open water competitions. 

In the meantime, to assist our open water swimmers in making their decisions on where to compete, USA Swimming has prepared the following open water safety checklist and list of questions to ask which any open water swimmer may want to have answered by a race organizer before deciding to participate in that event.

Interested in learning more about open water? Email Shannon Gillespy to request the "Thinking Out of the Box" Video

For more Open Water resources visit our Resource Topic Browser.



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