Five Reasons You Should Do An Oregon Open Water Event This Summer


The busy part of the Oregon Open Water season is almost upon us!  Starting in mid-July, there will be a number of open water events for people to enjoy.  If you’ve never done an open water swim, and I know quite a few people who fall in this category, you’re missing out on one of the most fun sporting events in the world.  The intent of this article is to give you some reasons to consider participating in one of the 5 upcoming Oregon open water events (there are actually 6, but the Portland Bridge Swim has been sold out for months).

Below are, what I hope you find to be, 5 very good reasons to pick one of these 5 upcoming Oregon Open Water events and plan to attend:

  • Variety is the spice of life! I’ve witnessed quite a number of people go through phases of “burnout” when they spend most or all of their training and racing time in the pool.  Swimming is a mentally grueling sport and burnout is common.  Spending some time outdoors in the open water and working on different skills such as sighting, drafting, changing pace, etc., provides some welcomed variety for those who do it.  I am one of those who regularly participate in both open water and pool events.  This seems to be fairly uncommon as most people focus on either pool swimming or open water swimming, but rarely do a lot of both.  My observation of both groups is that people in the open water seem to suffer less burnout than those in the pool.  Yet I know quite a few pool swimmers who refuse to try the open water, and for no good reason!  I believe if they were to get out there and do it, many would realize that they’ve been missing out on a ton of fun!  It would also likely help alleviate their burnout symptoms.
  • You don’t have to worry about missing your heat or spend all day on deck to swim several races that take a total of a few minutes. Nearly all swims at open water events have a mass start, meaning that all swimmers in a given event start at the same time.  This eliminates much of the sitting around that is required for pool meets when waiting to swim between events throughout the day, and also eliminates the risk of missing your heat.  Most open water events start around 8am or 9am and are complete with awards given by noon that same day.
  • Most open water events are a party and camping trip. Open water events are generally far more laid back and about as close to a “day at the lake” party as you can get.  They also often offer camping nearby where you can hang out with friends and family to make a great weekend on the lake.  If I were to compare open water and pool events, I would say that pool events are akin to an office setting and open water events akin to a party setting.
  • Oregon has some of the most beautiful venues in the world for open water swims. I have traveled all over the US and the world to swim open water events.  I’ve been to many gorgeous venues and I would still put most of our Oregon venues right near the top of the list in terms of scenic beauty.  We live in an astonishingly beautiful state that is blessed with quite a bit of clean, clear water.  Get out there and swim in it!
  • Oregon Open Water Series awards. Oregon is a standout LMSC for many reasons, and one of them is our outstanding Oregon Open Water Series.  Under the excellent leadership of Bob Bruce, this series was started in 2000 and has continued since.  It is a cumulative point-based scoring system where swimmers earn points, based on placing in their age group, at every Oregon swim in which they participate.  Awards and recognition are given to those swimmers at the top of their age group and the overall top point earners.  The purpose of this series is to promote fitness, competition, and fellowship in our unique outdoor settings.

Now that you have 5 good reasons to attend our Oregon Open Water Series swims, choose from the list below the swims that fit your schedule, get signed up for them, and get them on your calendar!  It’s going to be a beautiful and fun summer of outdoor swimming with lots of fun with friends, both new and old, to be had.  See you out there!

July 12: Foster Lake Cable Swim

Foster Lake

Foster Lake


July 14-15: Applegate Lake Swims

Applegate Lake

Applegate Lake


July 27-29: Cascade Lake Swim Series & Festival at Elk Lake

Elk Lake

Elk Lake


August 11: Eel Lake Swims

Eel Lake

Eel Lake


September 8: Lake of the Woods Swims (when going to register, look for “Open Water Swim” in the event list)

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods

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