Open Water Swimming

Open Water

Introduction to open water swimming

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 offers the purest form of racing, where athletes are racing against their fellow competitors and not the clock. Race strategies, along with the conditions, are constantly changing which makes adaptability a key skill. Each race varies in length and course design, especially at the local level. USA Swimming’s Zone Championships feature a 5K and our national and international level events feature a 5K, 7.5K, 10K, and a 25K.


Open water is a unique a part of our sport and an experience that swimmers should try once! 

  • Discuss your interest in open water with your coach. 

  • Open water and distance swimming have a good amount of crossover. Taking an interest in pool distance events can benefit your open water. 

  • Open water is not a different sport, but another distance event that requires strategy, which can be finely tuned to match an athlete's skill set. 

  • Check out local open water races within your LSC and enter. Start with shorter distances and work your way up to longer distances to build confidence!


Whether you’re a long-time open water enthusiast or looking to try it for the first time, open water swimming offers new and exciting challenges. Read more about them, below.

Off the Blocks, S2, Episode 3: Open Water with Haley Anderson and Jordan Wilimovsky


2018 National Open Water Select Camp Recap
1:41 Oct 10, 2018


All information regarding swimming on the Open Water National Team can be found here, including selection procedures, athlete assistance, international meet schedule and Junior Team information.

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