Long Distance Swimming: April 2016

The coming of spring reminds us that summer is not far away, and with it the 2016 Oregon Open Water season.

You can find the schedule, event information, and entry forms for all Oregon events and information about the 2016 Oregon Open Water Series at http://swimoregon.org/calendar/ and http://swimoregon.org/open-water/.

Here is a short description of the open water offerings at each venue this summer with basic camping and parking information, so that you can plan ahead and reserve your campsites early.

1) Lake Juniper Open Water Clinic (Saturday, May 14) & Buoy Swim (Sunday, May 15)—unsanctioned: Host team Central Oregon Masters and Event Director Bob Bruce will open the season by offering the 5th annual Lake Juniper Buoy Swim in the 50-meter pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center (a.k.a. Lake Juniper).  The swim will be 1200-meters, run in small heats & smaller waves, feature the warmest water on the Oregon open water circuit, and include a big pancake brunch afterwards.  The Buoy Swim is to open water as short track is to long-oval speed skating—close physical proximity & drafting, tight turns, forceful passing, and daring split-second tactical decisions.  All in all, wonderful preparation for open water racing!  Find entry info (sorry, no online entry for this small event) at www.comaswim.org.

On Saturday morning, May 14, COMA will also present a basic open water clinic at the same site, with Bob Bruce & COMA staff as clinicians.  Learn or sharpen up your open water skills in this fun environment!  Find details at www.comaswim.org.  To top off the weekend, that afternoon COMA will host a long course meet—details & entry at https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1352&smid=6329

For most of us, it’s a bit brisk and a bit early for camping in Central Oregon, but you should be able to find lodging in all categories and price ranges.


2) Hagg Lake (Sunday, June 19)—unsanctioned: The Portland Tri Club will host the 13th annual swims at Hagg Lake.  There are three separate swims of 2000, 800, & 4000 meters, in that order.  This event is very popular with triathletes, so we expect a big turnout.  Look for water temperatures around 60, which would mean no wetsuit deduction for race or series scoring.  Event and registration info are available at https://www.athletepath.com/hagg-lake-open-water-swim-and-paddle-board-races/2016-06-19.  These swims are a good start to our lake–swimming summer season.

There is no camping available at or near Hagg Lake, a situation ameliorated somewhat by the Lake’s proximity to the Portland Metro area.  The McMenamins Grand Lodge in Forest Grove is the closest overnight accommodation; call 877-992-9533.  Note: The race venue at Hagg Lake has a $5/day use fee.


3) Foster Lake (Saturday, June 25)—USMS-sanctioned: Host team Central Oregon Masters and Event Director Bob Bruce will run the 6th annual Foster Lake Cable Swims just east of Sweet Home on the only permanent cable swim course west of the Allegheny Mountains (not the Rockies, the Alleghenies!).  They will offer both one & two-mile swims on a certified, measured course, so National & Oregon records will count if you set them.  Online entry only (and NO day-of-race entries) at https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1689&smid=6227.  Some of you have never done a cable swim, so be sure to visit the www.comaswim.org for all of the down-and-dirty details that you’re gonna need to know for these swims.

Foster Lake is centrally located within two hours of most Oregon-registered swimmers.  Check-in begins at 8:00 am, allowing many swimmers to travel to and from the venue on the day of the event.  For those with camping in mind, we offer tent camping (sorry, no RVs) in Lewis Creek Park—the fee is $10 per tent, payable with your entry.  Also, Sunnyside Park is a fully-equipped Linn County campground 1.2 miles from the race site.  Tent sites are $13/night and hold up to 8 people, and hookup sites are $18/night plus $11 reservation fee/site.  Call 541-967-3917, but do it soon—this campground will fill quickly on the weekend before Independence Day.  Note: The race venue at Lewis Creek County Park has a $5 parking fee.


4) Portland Bridge Swim (Sunday, July 10)—USMS-sanctioned: See Portland like you never have before!  Event Director Marisa Frieder will host our longest event of the season, the 5th edition of a 17-km swim in the river benefitting Willamette Riverkeepers.  The swim will also include 3-person relays.  Starting from Sellwood Riverfront Park, you will pass under all 11 of Portland’s bridges and end at Cathedral Park.  For safety reasons, this swim will start early, will require an individual escort (non-motorized boat or kayak), and entry will be limited.  Additionally, there will be a qualifying swim of 5-km; think about swimming your postal 5-km soon after May 15 to use as your qualifying swim.  Online entry at https://portlandbridgeswim.redpodium.com/test.

I strongly suspect that you won’t be planning to camp the night before this swim, and there are plenty of hotel accommodations in the Portland Metro area.


5) Applegate Lake (Saturday-Sunday, July 16-17)—USMS-sanctioned: Event Director Andrew Gramley and host team Rogue Valley Masters (RVM) will present the 31st annual Southern Oregon open water swims at Applegate Lake, featuring the USMS 10-km Open Water National Championships and the OMS 1500-meter Open Water Individual & Team Association Championships.  Online entry coming soon to http://swimoregon.org/events/.  Saturdays events will be 2500, 5000 & 10,000-meter swims, run simultaneously, perfect for this venue.  Sunday features the classic 1500-meter race and the popular 3 x 500-meter pursuit relay.  Look forward to hot weather, clear & balmy 73-77 degree water, fine camping, great recreational or cultural opportunities (bring your mountain or road bike, or your appetite for wine tasting), and the ever-bountiful RVM hospitality.  So come swim in the lake, bring friends and family, and have fun!

RVM has reserved tent camping sites and self-contained RV camping spaces (no hookups) at race site Hart-Tish Park.  For Hart-Tish camping, contact Jocelyn Sanford at 541-488-6435.  Other camping sites near Hart-Tish include Jackson, Watkins, and Carberry Campgrounds—call the Hart-Tish Concessionaire (Glenn, Sue, or Mark) at 541-899-9220 or www.applegatelake.com.  Beaver Sulphur campground may be reserved at 1-877-444-6777 or www.reserveamerica.com.  For other accommodations away from the race site, search the web for lodgings in Ruch, Jacksonville, Medford, or Ashland.  Note that the race venue at Hart-Tish Park has a $5 per day vehicle parking fee; please drive down the hill to the general store and purchase your parking pass so that you can park before the event.  No dogs are allowed in Hart-Tish Park.


6) Cascade Lakes Swim Series & Festival at Elk Lake (Friday-Sunday, July 29-31)—USMS Sanctioned: Event Director Bob Bruce and host team Central Oregon Masters will present the 22nd edition celebration of this major event, which will retain the traditional ‘five swims in three days’ format and will feature the NW Zone 1500-meter Open Water Championships!  Start late Friday afternoon with a 3000-meter swim.  Saturday will feature the individual-start 500-meter sprint and the 1500-meter championship race, and plenty of lolling around the beautiful lake.  Sunday will open with the 5000-meter swim and conclude with the tactically-challenging 1000-meter swim with small group send-offs.  There are cumulative awards for the three-swim Short and Long Series, as well as Survivor awards for those compulsive maniacs who complete all five swims (will you be among them?).  COMA promises a festival atmosphere with fun family-oriented events and the usual groaning hospitality table.  For full details, see https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1756&smid=7348—online entry only except for day-of-race entries.

COMA has again reserved the Little Fawn Group Site, and you may pay for camping with your entry at $8/adult/day—there is a limit, so enter and reserve early as there will be no last-minute drop-in camping!   The campground is available for THREE days, Thursday through Saturday (alas, no Sunday reservation this year).  The Group Camp is a large area designed to hold 50 campers & 12 cars (small & medium motor homes too), and COMA will have a Camp Host on site.  Dogs are allowed in the campground—always on a leash of 6 feet or less—but not at the race site.  Parking will be limited to the pullouts off the Cascade Lakes Highway or in the Little Fawn campground, and there will be no parking at the race site until all event activities have been concluded, so please plan to park at the campground even if you are not camping.  Shuttle vans will run between the campground and the race site during registration hours and after the lunch & awards.

All other camping sites at Elk Lake are on a first-come basis, so send a teammate early to secure sites.  Campgrounds at nearby lakes offer reserved sites through www.recreation.gov.  For cabins at the lake, go to www.elklakeresort.com.  Bend and Sunriver offer many lodging choices at various price levels, but reserve your place EARLY—there are other big events in Bend on this weekend.


7) Central Oregon Coast Swims at Eel Lake: Alas, due to Oregon’s hosting of the USMS Summer Championships on August 17-21, we have put Eel Lake on hold for this year.

As always, the Oregon open water season offers plenty of variety and challenges…

Six attractive venues—mountain lakes, scenic reservoirs, the Willamette River, and even a 50-meter pool!

Venue formats—four single-day, one two-day, and one three-day meeting.

Race distances—seventeen total swims ranging from 500-meter to 17-kilometers.

Race courses—out-and-back to triangular to diamond to free-form to point-to-point.

Race formats—individual-start to small group to traditional mass start.

Water temperatures—normally ranging from low 60s to mid 70s.

Clinics—opportunities to learn and hone your open water skills.

Most importantly, the great variety of friends who will come together again this summer to swim, camp, and frolic in the fellowship that is Oregon Open Water Swimming.

We have an active, challenging, and fun Oregon open water season planned for you.  Look for entry information and details about the Oregon Open Water Series in the OMS newsletter Aqua Master, on the OMS website www.swimoregon.org, or on individual host websites listed above.  Please join us for a wonderful summer of fitness, fellowship, and fun!

Good luck and good swimming!

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