Open Water Swims 2014
Hello and welcome to my notes on open-water swims. New for 2014, the original focus on the Jersey Shore and the Philadelphia vicinity has enlarged to anywhere in the US and then some. There are now several regional schedules listing the basics for each swim: 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 in the Philly region still get special consideration in the form of extended descriptions, extra attention, and top billing. Here are the schedules, covering 235 venues:
- Jersey Shore & Philadelphia vicinity
- Northeast (ctConnecticut, maMassachusetts, meMaine, nyNew York, riRhode Island, vtVermont)
- Mid Atlantic (mdMaryland, njNew Jersey, paPennsylvania, vaVirginia)
- Southeast (flFlorida, gaGeorgia, ncNorth Carolina, scSouth Carolina)
- Midwest (ilIllinois, inIndiana, mnMinnesota, moMissouri, neNebraska, ohOhio, sdSouth Dakota, wiWisconsin)
- East South Central (kyKentucky, msMississippi, tnTennessee)
- Pacific West (akAlaska, caCalifornia, orOregon, waWashington)
- Interior West (coColorado, idIdaho, nvNevada, txTexas, utUtah)
- Offshore (bbBarbados, bmBermuda, gciGrand Cayman Island, hiHawaii, tcTurks and Caicos Islands, viVirgin Islands)
- The Whole Shebang (Every swim in the database.)
Did you notice a mistake on these pages—factual, spelling, typo, bad link, errant mapping? Do you know of another swim to add? 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 identifies the starting time of the (first) race or of any pre-race meeting, whichever comes first. Check-in generally closes earlier still.
The More column may also include codes "D," "K," "R," "S," and "T" for supplemental info. "D" means that the event's timeline permits double-dipping when multiple distances are offered (you can swim more than a single race). "K" means a kids' race of some sort is offered, usually a short splash-and-dash. "R" means there's an option for relay teams. "S" means that USMS has sanctioned the event in whole or in part. You must be a USMS member to enter a sanctioned race. Some events offer single-day membership at registration. "T" similarly means that USAT has sanctioned the race and participation requires USAT membership. When both "S" and "T" appear, however, you need only be a member of one organization. (NB: Adding these codes is nascent work in progress.)
There's more to say about location links. They point to Mapquest because Mapquest makes it easy to formulate links to its maps and because I happened to start with Mapquest. But you may prefer another map provider, and that's where the diamonds (♦) come in. These indicate geo links (URI). If your browser supports geo links, then clicking on the diamond brings up the map provider you and your browser agree on. If your browser does not support geo links, it will tell you so when you click on the diamond. A final tweak: If you rest your pointer over the city-state location for a half second, the event's address pops up.
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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 current database is experimental, however, and feasibility of annual upkeep is uncertain. There's no harm in giving it a whirl, though.