An 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.

The USA Swimming Open Water Nationals and Junior National Championships are held in early April.

The Western Zone Open Water Championships are held in September.

For more information about these open water championship meets check out the Montana Swimming meet page or the USA Swimming events page at


Open Water Swim Essentials   here

Tips for Practicing Open Water in the Pool   PDF

How to Build and Open Water Feeding Pole   PDF

Structuring Your Open Water Workout   PDF

Safety Management for Open Water Workouts   PDF

Open Water Workout Examples   PDF

USA Swimming National Team Hub:


Meet Resources:

Open Water Meet Management 101   PDF

Emergency Action Plan Checklist   PDF

Open Water Meet Announcement Template (2020)   PDF

Officiating Open Water:

Open Water Officials Information: