Ready for race season? We’ve rounded up our favorite Summer 2018 open water swim races happening in North America. It’s time to book your flights and hit the open water!
MySwimPro is proud to be the Official Swim Training App of the Global Swim Series, and we are so excited to share these great races with our community members! We’ve even built our 12-week Open Water Training Plan to help get you ready for race day. Check out our top 5 races below:

1) San Clemente Ocean Festival

The San Clemente Ocean Festival is all about that cool, fun, hip California beach, surf and swimming scene… and has been for more than 40 years! This is one of the originals. The San Clemente Ocean Festival takes place just south of Los Angeles, California and is packed with incredible family, friendly fun!

The festival offers a variety of events in this beautiful California town, with the most popular being the one mile ocean swim! There are about 650 athletes that register over the two-day multi-sport weekend. Races and events include: One Mile Ocean Swim, Biathlon (1k Swim, 5k Run), Run-Swim-Run, Surf Lifesaving races (dory, surf ski, paddleboard), Surfing contests (SUP & Kids), Paddleboard races (1k, 10k), Kid’s events/races – swim, paddle, surf.

For the swim races, swimmers start on the beach, navigate the surf zone and race around a one-mile marked ocean course. Swimmers, then navigate their way back through the surfline and finish on the beach.

You could start your day off right with the City Lifeguard Pancake Breakfast then head over to the 26th Annual Woody Car Exhibit? If you’re looking for some competition, try out the SUP surfing championships, the lifeguard competition, or the 5 km beach run. All kinds of fun!


2) GSS Canadian Championships – The Toronto Mile

The Toronto Triathlon Festival (TTF) has added a pure open water race to the tri festival… and that race is “The Toronto Mile.” And this year “The Toronto Mile” will also be the host of the first “GSS – Canadian Championships!” As the largest triathlon festival in Canada, the TTF is a great launching pad for the new Toronto Mile and the GSS – Canadian Champs.

The TTF is a celebration of human endurance and tenacity. Athletes of all stripes will take on a uniquely urban triathlon and this year, athletes can take on an uniquely urban swim in Canada’s largest city. The TTF is quickly becoming a “Can’t Miss”, signature event on the North American triathlon circuit. So the race organizers wanted to grow the event and make it even better and more inclusive. So what better way to do that, than add a Championship swim race?!
The Toronto Mile will take you on a memorable journey through Toronto’s unique lakeshore landscape, starting in the heart of downtown Toronto, at Ontario Place, and doing a simple, flat and fast out-and-back loop inside the breakwater of Marilyn Bell Park. Very fittingly.

Whether you are an Olympian, weekend warrior or someone looking to add a challenging event to your bucket list, the Toronto Mile is an event that will test your spirit and reward you immeasurably at the finish line.
The Toronto Mile is hoping to be the crown jewel of GSS races in southern Ontario and by tying it in with an already hugely successful Triathlon in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, there is no reason that it won’t be. We will bring together avid Olympians, college athletes, triathletes, marathon swimmers, age-group swimmers (14 years & up!), masters swimmers and recreational swimmers looking to enjoy an amazing urban swim!

3) The LOST Race

  • August 18, 2018
  • Oakville, Ontario, Canada
  • The LOST Mile (1.6km) & The LOST Race (3.8km) lake swim
  • Click here to register 

A founding race in the Global Swim Series, the LOST race has been held annually on the second Saturday in August since 2008. The LOST Race is a 3.8 km, Ironman distance, point-to-point swim in Lake Ontario. New in 2016, the event also offers a 1.5 km distance. Unlike the 3.8 km classic distance, the 1.5 km will be a single loop course that starts and finishes at the Navy St Pier.

The LOST Race takes swimmers weaving along the beautiful Oakville coastline where swimmers pass some of the largest and most expensive mansions and estates in North America. The swim has a spectacular finish at the lighthouse pier at the LOST beach in downtown Oakville. The 1.5 km distance is great for viewing as there is a public walkway for spectators follow along on to view and cheer.

A flagship event on the Canadian open water swimming circuit for many years, the field features everyone from former Olympians, marathon swimmers, NCAA & CIS varsity athletes, Ironmen, triathletes and lots of recreational swimmers and first timers too.

The water temperature is usually around 70F/20C and there are wetsuit and non-wetsuit divisions. The LOST Race has something to offer swimmers of all abilities and is just a fun day on the Lake.

4) Swim Defiance

Great name, “Swim Defiance“. And no, it doesn’t involve swimming where there is a “no swimming” sign. Swim Defiance is actually a race from Port Defiance across the Puget Sound to Vashon Island. You actually have a choice of the “one way” 3k distance, or a 5k, “there and back” distance.

One of the incredible things about this race is that the first time this race was held was in 1926. Back in the early hey-days of open water swimming. Around the time when the first woman, Gertrude Ederle, became the first woman to swim across the English Channel. Also when Canadian, George Young, won the race across the Catalina Channel and when the first open water races started at the Canadian National Expo in Toronto. The golden age of open water swimming. And this race was part of it.
Now you can be a part of modern open water swimming history with Swim Defiance and the Global Swim Series. Swim Defiance joins the 3 other races just a short drive away, across the border in Vancounver, to join the Global Swim Series. This, of course, helps locals build their Global Ranking too.

The venue is also a classic Pacific North-west. Rugged beauty, cold water (but you can wear a wetsuit) and a warm, grass-roots organization. The race is very well run, friendly and welcoming for the whole family. So if are interested in a great challenge, a lot of fun at a spectacular venue… then mark it on your calendar and come out for a great swim and be a part of modern open water history!

5) Waikiki Rough Water Swim

Probably the most famous open water swim race in the world.

Of course, “most famous” is a subjective term, but the Waikiki Roughwater Swim fits the bill as well as any swim in the world! The beach of Waikiki is one of the most well known beaches in the world, with perfect sand, wind, waves and sunny temperatures.  But it is not the only idylic swimming spot in the world. Other races in tropical paradise’s like Turks and Caicos Race for the Conch, El Cruce in Cancun, Mexico, or the Barbados Open Water Festival are just a few that come to mind.
The Waikiki Roughwater Swim started in 1970.  But there are several older swims around the world, such as the Liffey Swim in Dublin, Ireland, which is almost 100 years old, as it has run continuously since 1920.

At around 1,000 swimmers in the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, it is a big race. But there are bigger races, such as the Vansbro Swim in Sweden, with 14,000 swimmers and the Midmar Mile in South Africa, with 15,000 swimmers.
But the WRS has a very storied and famous history since it was founded by Jim Cotton in 1970.  Since then there have been many Olympic medalists (like 6 time medalist Rebecca Soni) and countless world class swimmers, and even movie stars (including Buster Crabbe who played Tarzan) that have swum the race.
However, when you wrap all of these amazing facts of location, age, size and history into one race it makes it a very special race. But what puts it over the top is that it is the race that went on to make a whole other sport famous.
You see, the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, is where the swim leg of the Ironman came from.

In 1978, during an awards banquet for the Waikiki Swim Club, John Collins, a Naval Officer stationed in Hawaii, and his fellow athletes began debating which athletes were the fittest: swimmers, bikers, or runners. Later, he and his wife Judy, who had both participated in new competitions known as triathlons in San Diego, decided to combine three of the toughest existing endurance races on the island: the 2.4 mile (3.8k) Waikiki Roughwater Swim, the 112 mile (180k) Round the Island Bike Ride and the 26.2 mile (42.2k) Honolulu Marathon.
On February 18, 1978, 15 competitors, including Collins, came to the shores of Waikiki to take on the first-ever Hawaiian Iron Man Triathlon.  “And the whoever comes first we’ll call the Ironman”.
So mark it on your calendar and come and make your own history and enjoy “the Swim of all Swims”!

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  1. Hi there, my wife & I are both open water master swimmers. Her 60th birthday is 7 July. I’m looking for a great open water swim/race to celebrate. Can you please recommend a race around that time frame. Thanx, Darryl Cuda

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