Need Open-Water Practice? Try These Tough Events

  • By Sara McLarty
  • Published Aug 28, 2012
  • Updated Dec 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM UTC
The Boston Light Swim. Photo: David Boeri

Traditionally, single-sport athletics and triathlon are kept separate, but according to Rob Butcher, executive director of United States Masters Swimming, the lines between USMS and USA Triathlon have recently become more blurred. Nearly 20 percent of USMS members are interested or actively participating in triathlons, and triathletes regularly swim in Masters programs.

Butcher says that USMS and USAT have been working together on a dual-sanction for open-water events. “The athletes will benefit by needing only one membership, and the race directors will be able to market to a broader group of athletes.” 2008 Olympian Jarrod Shoemaker hosted five open-water events in Clermont, Fla., earlier this year, and has more slated for 2013. In the future, expect to see companion open-water events at some of the big triathlons around the country.

Open-water events are ideal places to practice your triathlon swim skills—and maybe meet some single-sport friends while you’re at it. Try one of these challenging upcoming races.

Boston Light Swim
Aug. 18, 2012 • 8 miles

If you’re tough enough, this 8-mile beast swims through the inner islands of the Boston Harbor, passing the Boston Lighthouse and bridges along the way.

Team Fort Collins
Horsetooth Swim

Fort Collins, Colo.
Aug. 19, 2012
1.2-mile, 2.4-mile, 10K options

The Horsetooth Swim takes place in a man-made reservoir at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The event appeals to both the hardcore open-water swimmer (the 10K requires your own support crew) and triathletes.

Waikiki Roughwater Swim
Honolulu, Hawaii
Sept. 3, 2012
2.348 miles

Swimmers contend with big surf and strong currents while swimming over beautiful Hawaiian coral reefs.

La Jolla Rough Water Swim
La Jolla, Calif.
Sept. 9, 2012
1-mile and 3-mile options

The Rough Water Swim has been a tradition since 1916, hosting more than 2,000 athletes every year in the picturesque La Jolla Cove.

Lake Travis Relay
Austin, Texas
Oct. 13, 2012
10–12 miles per team

Six swimmers on each team complete a 20-minute swim, a 15-minute swim and a 10-minute swim until the finish. (Last year, a guy by the name of Lance Armstrong was on the winning team.)

For more open-water event options visit and

RELATED: Open-Water Swimming Tips From The Pros

FILED UNDER: Swim / Training TAGS:

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