Open Water

Open Water Swimming has gained popularity over the past several years.  Utah is proud to have a dedicated USMS club dedicated to open water swimming.

Salt Lake Open Water (SLOW) was created late 2012 to encourage swimmers to swim together for safety, support, and maximum training.  Swimmers of all abilities are encouraged to participate.  However, stroke analysis and help with technique will be better suited in a pool setting, and can be arranged with the coach. The coach at open water training sessions will be focused primarily on the safety of the swimmers.  ALL SWIMMERS who swim with the club MUST be USMS members. 

There are many wonderful Open Water venues in Utah.  You can read about many of them here.

There are several Open Water events in Utah:

1) Deer Creek Open Water Marathon - This is a 1 mile, 5K, 10K, or 10 Mile.  Wetsuit or Non-wetsuit divisions.  This is was listed as the 34th best open water swim in the United States.

2) Great Salt Lake Open Water Marathon - This is a 1 mile, or 8 mile event.  Wetsuit or Non-wetsuit divisions.  This race was started in 1927, and lasted for over a decade, but after WWII it was discontinued until 2011.  Quite possibly one of the most unique open water races in the world.  

3) Bear Lake Open Water Swim - This is a 7 mile race across the width of Bear Lake.  The water of Bear Lake is popular for it's beautiful color and vastness.  

When swimming in Open Water it is encouraged that you swim in groups, and even better with a safety device to help you stand out to boaters and to provide assistance in deep water in an urgent situation.  A couple of good options are:
  • The Safer Swimmer Device (SSD) - This it the most popular device for its affordability, and ability to store items to keep them relatively dry.  (It's still a good idea to keep electronics within a waterproof container even if its within the SSD)
  • The Swimmer Buddy - This is great for both visibility but even better for storing items such as a snack/water.  A waterproof container can be easily stored on the top, and can also stow a camera to help analyze your stroke as it follows behind you taking video.  This device does NOT do as well as the SSD in high winds.
Be sure to familiarize yourself as much as possible with the body of water you plan to train in, and become friends with your local State Parks officer.  Ask for their advice on the safest places to swim, and let them know of your plans so there aren't any surprises.  And take along a swimming partner where you can keep an eye on each other.