Open Water
Orinda Aquatics – Open Water 2019


Do the walls of the pool have you feeling CLAUSTROPHOBIC?!


While there will be some changes this year, and a lot of our open water squad will be graduating and heading off to college, there are still some exciting opportunities for OA swimmers to attend open water swims!


Here are the events on calendar: 

Lake Del Valle Open Water Festival. 

Sunday, June 9, 2019

1.2k and 2.5k

Meet conflict: ONDA C/B/BB (Junior Group) – talk to coaches if you would like to attend.


This is a very fun event, in close proximity to home, making it an ideal day trip.  Orinda Aquatics Photographer, Fred Stambaugh, will be there to capture OA swimmers on Sunday, June 9, 2019 - Please RSVP by email to Fred Stambaugh so he knows who will be attending and who will be participating in each event. 

Del Valle Meet Sheet/Registation Information...


**Alcatraz - Sunday, June 30, 2019? (or a date to be determined based on interest) - Private Crossing (no registration) - RSVP: Lydia Percin

This is an exceptional opportunity:  Peter Valvur has a contact at the South End Rowing Club in San Francisco, who is willing to organize an Alcatraz crossing for OUR open water swimmers!!  This may be the crowning achievement for many of the Orinda Aquatics Seniors (and others) who have participated in open water events over the last several years.  Please email Lydia (see above) and indicate (1) If your swimmer wants to participate, and (2) If your swimmer is available on Sunday, June 30, 2019. 




Tiburon Mile - cancelled for 2019



Tahoe Open Water Weekend  


Meet conflict - none


(Note: Due to the nature of the swims, this activity is available for Senior and college swimmers only.) 


The Percin’s are not able to host the team for an open water weekend this year.  However, there are two open water events in Tahoe which may be opportunities for someone to organize/chair a fun open water trip:  Sharkfest Sand Harbor is August 18, 2019 OR Sugar Pine Point is August 24, 2019.  One option may be to reserve a group camp site for a real adventure for all the swimmers (and some adults).  If you are interested in organizing such an adventure, please contact Lydia Percin or the Coaches.

Open Water Swims

Big Blue Adventures' Lake Tahoe Open Water

19 Orinda Aquatics Open Water Swimmers traveled to Tahoe/Truckee from August 25-27, 2017, for a fun-filled weekend.

The swimmers represented OA well on the podium after in the Big Blue Adventures’ Lake Tahoe Open Water Races:

Men’s 1.2 Mile Non-Wetsuit: Jack Larsen placed 2nd with a time of 23:39.

Women’s 1.2 Mile Non-Wetsuit: OA Swept the podium within 16 seconds of each other: 1st place: Anna Mills, 2nd place Carla Leone, and 3rd place Maya Supran.  

2.4 Mile Non-Wetsuit: Sean Percin took 1st place overall with a time of 49.45, and keeping it in the family, Brittany Percin took 2nd place overall with a time of 53.12.  

After a night under the stars, Sunday morning, 19 swimmers and several parent volunteers descended on Donner Lake for the 2.7 mile Private Donner Lake Crossing.  All 19 swimmers conquered Donner Lake without wetsuits – with some racing the crossing, and others using it as an opportunity to practice drafting off each other, sight-seeing, socializing, or racing “Phoenix” (the dog) to the other side.  Notably, Jack Larsen raced for a 1:01 finish, followed by Lizzie Follmer (@ 1:07).  

August 2011:
OA Master’s swimmer swimming the English Channel! 
In an email, she says, “I just wanted to touch base with you to say thank you again for all of your encouragement and support.  I am leaving a week from Wednesday (August 3rd) and my window of opportunity opens August 7-12.  I will proudly wear my OA cap.  Think good thoughts for me to have warm water and calm seas for my crossing.  There is nothing left for me to do except eat, sleep and swim a bit... and mentally prepare for success.  This has been an amazing journey and I am grateful for your support.  This has been a time of great joy in my life.”  All the best, Ranie;
See Ranie Pearce’s blog at:


General Information on Open Water Competition:

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. There are some potential risks and hazards, but with thoughtful planning in advance, Open Water swimming can open up whole new worlds for both athletes and coaches.  Let’s look at some of the things you, as a coach, must do in order to plan Open Water training or an Open Water event. First, identify the factors that you will be dealing with to eliminate unforeseen risks. The known factors are age, experience, physical ability and athlete to supervisor ratio. Plan an experience that is appropriate for your athletes and staff!

The need for efficiently organized safe swims is imperative. The swim, either for training or competition, may follow several different course types:

  1. Parallel to a shore
  2. To or around a fixed point or landmark such as a rock, island or pier
  3. Around a closed course marked by buoys
  4. Point to point

Direct supervision, adequate coach to swimmer ratio and thorough instruction are key elements in open water swimming. If you are ill-prepared, you could find yourself and your athletes in trouble. Plan how you will account for every swimmer who enters the water. Make sure that you have enough escort craft, with you for the size of your group. For example, you may have three kayaks, one in the lead, one tailing and one to respond to emergencies. If you have to stop for one athlete, you do not want to leave the others unattended. Develop clear signals for athletes to let you know if they need assistance. Also develop signals to let the athletes know that they should look up or stop.

Be familiar with water conditions such as temperature, water clarity, waves and currents. Be aware and warn the swimmers of any natural or manmade hazards such as rocks, piers and submerged objects. Monitor weather conditions for any possible storms or abrupt temperature changes. Be prepared to terminate the swim at the first sign of foul weather.

It is also important that swimmers be prepared and physically able to complete the swim distance. Your athletes might be able to handle the distance going out, but might struggle coming back. Swimmers should complete several short swims in controlled areas before attempting a longer more challenging swim. Some swimmers may have very real fears of swimming in open water and may need to be gradually encouraged.

In addition coaches need to be well prepared to deal with potential hypothermia, dehydration and deep water rescue. In spite of the additional risks encountered outside of a pool, open water swimming provides great training and diversion from swimming laps in the pool. Proper planning can reduce or eliminate these risks.

 Open Water Meet Safety

  1. Define the course with a clearly marked start area, turn markers and finish line
  2. Design the course to minimize confusion and avoid head-on traffic patterns
  3. Eliminate changes in course direction where the course is likely to be congested, such as at the start
  4. Seek the advice of local experts such as the Beach Patrol or Parks Department, the Red Cross, the USA Swimming Local Swim Committee (LSC), the Coast Guard and the Harbormaster.
  5. Have a clear emergency action plan and medical evacuation plan
  6. Set up safety monitor stations with first aid supplies and emergency signaling devices
  7. Be prepared to cancel the event in case of inclement weather
  8. Account for every participant who enters and exits the water
  9. Have a public briefing to go over rules and procedures with all participants
  10. Line up escort and pilot boats

For additional information on open water meet safety, consult the USA Swimming Open Water Meet Manager’s Guide.