Long Distance Swimming – May 2018

The 2018 Oregon Open Water Preview

The coming of spring reminds us that summer is not far away, and with it the 2018 Oregon open water season.

You can find the schedule, event information, and entry forms for all Oregon events and information about the 2018 Oregon Open Water Series at http://swimoregon.org/events/# and http://swimoregon.org/open-water/.  What a year we have planned for you!

This is a very special season for us, as we are hosting the “My Oregon Swimcation” Festival that includes the Portland Bridge Swim, the Foster Lake 2-mile Cable Swim, and the Applegate Lake 10-km Swim as USMS Open Water National Championship swims (see items 2, 3, & 4 below).  This is the first time ever that three championships will be held by one LMSC, it’s happening during one week, and it’s in your backyard!  You don’t have to do all three championship swims, but come join us for at least one of them!

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 Buoy Swim (Sunday, May 20)—USMS-sanctioned:  Host team Central Oregon Masters and Event Director Bob Bruce will open the season by offering the 7th annual Lake Juniper Buoy Swim in the 50-meter pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center (a.k.a. Lake Juniper).  Out go the lane lines, in go the buoys!  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 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!  Event & entry at https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1352&smid=10538.  On Saturday, May 19, the previous afternoon, COMA will also present a long course meters meet.  Warm-up at 12:00 noon and meet 1:00-5:15 pm.  This meet is one of two USMS-sanctioned long course meets held in Oregon this summer, so don’t miss a rare chance to swim long course!  Together, the back-to-back meet and buoy swim are a great value and a good enticement to spend a splendid weekend in Bend. 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.  Secure your reservations soon, as this weekend is also Pole-Pedal-Paddle weekend in Bend.

  1. My Oregon Swimcation: Portland Bridge Swim (Sunday, July 8)—USMS-sanctioned: See Portland like you never have before!  Event Director Marisa Frieder will host our longest event of the season, the 8th edition of a 17-km swim in the river, which is also the USMS Ultra-Marathon National Championships.  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.  The swim is already sold out, but you can find info at https://portlandbridgeswim.redpodium.com/portland-bridge-swim-2018.


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.


  1. My Oregon Swimcation: Foster Lake (Thursday, July 12)—USMS-sanctioned: Host team Central Oregon Masters and Event Director Bob Bruce will run the 8th annual Foster Lake Cable Swims—featuring the USMS Two-Mile Cable Swim National Championships—just east of Sweet Home on the only permanent cable swim course west of the Allegheny Mountains (not the Rockies, the Alleghenies!).  The one-mile swim will be the OMS Open Water Individual & Team Association Championships.  Both one & two-mile swims are on a certified course, so National, Oregon, and course records are in play.  Online entry only (and NO day-of-race entries) at https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1756&smid=9712.  Some of you have never done a cable swim, so visit comaswim.org for the records and all of the down-and-dirty details that you’re gonna need to know for these swims.


I’ve done something unique about this event this year and I’m a bit apprehensive.  To make the three-swims-in-one-week ‘My Oregon Swimcation Festival’ possible, I took a risk and scheduled this event in mid-week on a Thursday morning.  I know that some—perhaps many—of you will need to take a day off from work.  Please support the swim and plan ahead by scheduling a vacation day now and joining us at the lake then.


Foster Lake is centrally located within two hours of most Oregon-registered swimmers, allowing many swimmers to travel to and from the venue on event day.  For those wishing to camp, we offer tent camping (sorry, no RVs) in Lewis Creek Park the previous night only—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 always fills quickly.  Note: The race venue at Lewis Creek County Park has a $5 parking fee.


  1. My Oregon Swimcation: Applegate Lake (Saturday-Sunday, July 14-15)—USMS-sanctioned: Event Director Matt Miller and host team Rogue Valley Masters (RVM) will present the 33th annual Southern Oregon open water swims at Applegate Lake, featuring the USMS Marathon (10-km) Open Water National Championships.   Saturday’s 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!  Info & online entry at https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=2128&smid=9709.


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 541-210-0088.  Other camping sites near Hart-Tish include Jackson, Watkins, and Carberry Campgrounds—call the Hart-Tish Concessionaire at 541-899-9220 or www.applegatelake.com.  Beaver Sulfer 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.


  1. Cascade Lakes Swim Series & Festival at Elk Lake (Friday-Sunday, July 27-29)—USMS Sanctioned: Event Director Bob Bruce and host team Central Oregon Masters will present the 24th celebration of this major event, which will retain the traditional ‘five swims in three days’ format.  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 info and entry details, see https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1756&smid=9711.  Online entry only except for day-of-race entries.


COMA has reserved the Little Lava Lake Group Site (note that this is NOT the usual Little Fawn Group Campground, which was unavailable this year), 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 FOUR days, Thursday through Sunday.  The Group Camp is designed to hold 25 campers & 10 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 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 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.


  1. Southern Oregon Coast Swims at Eel Lake (Saturday, August 11)—USMS Sanctioned: Event Director Matt Miller and new host team Southern Oregon Masters, along with local swim guru Ralph Mohr, will present the 12th edition of this popular Oregon Coast event.  The event will include a two-loop 3000-meter swim and a one-loop 1500-meter swim.  Look for the famous Eel Lake brownies along with cookies, fruit, and hot drinks, and the annual Super Bowl payoff dinner that evening.  Online entries only, except for day-of-race entries.  Find info at https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=2441&smid=9989.


Camping reservations at Tugman State Park can be made at Reservations Northwest at (800) 452-5687 or http://www.oregon.gov/OPRD/PARKS/reserve.shtml.  Reserve early, especially for yurts.  For further info on the event, other camping in the area, or just stuff to do, contact Ralph Mohr at rmohr1565@charter.net or 541-269-1565.


  1. Lake of the Woods Swims (Saturday, September 8)—USMS Sanctioned: Event Director Matt Miller and host team Southern Oregon Masters will present this new event—held in conjunction with the Lake of the Woods Tri-Sport Weekend—that extends our season past Labor Day.  The swim event at this beautiful venue will include both 3000-meter and 1500-meter swims, as well as our OMS end-of-season awards.  Info & entry at https://www.trisignup.com/Race/OR/KlamathFalls/LakeoftheWoodsTriSportWeekend and http://swimoregon.org/events/#.  The intrepid among you could even consider a double-header with the Whiskeytown swims near Redding, CA, the following day.


Lake of the Woods has several options for the Lake of the Woods Tri/Sport Weekend.  There is tent camping at both Aspen and Sunset campgrounds which are both very close to the event site.  The official reservation closure for the facilities is Labor Day, but don’t worry there will be spots available.  All sites in Aspen will be on a 1st come 1st served basis.  If needed we will also open sites in Sunset Campground.  To get cozy in a cabin call 866-201-4194 or check here: http://lakeofthewoodstri.com/david-r-kingsley-foundation/.  RV spots are also available; see the map here:  https://convoyant.com/resnexus/reservations/Sites/Maps?uniqueId=6D480342-463A-473C-BBB9-C9108165ECD7&mapID=2

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

  • Seven attractive venues—mountain lakes, scenic reservoirs, the Willamette River, and even a 50-meter pool—over five months.  This is our longest season ever!
  • Three USMS national championship swims, the most that any LMSC has ever hosted!
  • Venue formats—five single-day, one two-day, and one three-day meeting.
  • Race distances—eighteen total swims ranging from 500-meters 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 wave to traditional mass start.
  • Water temperatures—normally ranging from low 60s to mid 70s.
  • 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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