The 2019 Oregon Open Water Preview

The coming of spring reminds us that summer is not far away, and with it the 2019 Oregon open water season.

You can find the schedule, event information, and entry links & forms for all Oregon events and information about the 2019 Oregon Open Water Series at and  We have another fine year planned, just for YOU!

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, June 16)—USMS-sanctioned:  Host team Central Oregon Masters (COMA) and Event Director Bob Bruce will open the season (albeit a little later than usual due to the late date of the Association Spring Pool Championships) by offering the 8th annual Lake Juniper Buoy Swim in the 50-meter pool at Juniper Swim & Fitness Center, a.k.a. “Beautiful 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 a season of open water racing!  Event info & online entry at the previous afternoon, Saturday, June 15, COMA will also host 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!  And for those who are pentathlon fans, the events are ordered so that you can do a five-stroke or freestyle pentathlon (with special awards!) without having to swim back-to-back events.  Event info and online entry at  Together, the combination of the meet and the buoy swim are a great value and a good enticement to spend a splendid weekend in Bend.

    You should be able to find lodging in all categories and price ranges.  Secure your reservations soon.

  2. Foster Lake (Saturday, June 29)—USMS-sanctioned: Host team COMA and Event Director Bob Bruce will run the 9th annual Foster Lake Cable Swims just east of Sweet Home on the only permanent cable swim course in the western U.S.  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  Some of you have never done a cable swim, so visit for the records and all of the down-and-dirty details that you’re gonna need to know for these swims.We’re starting something different this year.  Oregon has not hosted an event for kids since 2011, but we have secured a USA-Swimming sanction to go with our USMS sanction and will have kids 11 & older swimming with us.  If your children or grandchildren are active USA-S swimmers and meet the age and qualifying times, this could be a fun family event for you.

    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 or teardrops) 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 $7 parking fee.

  1. Portland Bridge Swim (Sunday, July 7)—USMS-sanctioned: See Portland like you never have before!  Event Director Marisa Frieder will host our longest event of the season, the 9th edition of a 17-km swim in the river, which is also the USMS Ultra-Marathon National Championships for the second year in a row.  The swim will also include 3-person relays.  Start at Sellwood Riverfront Park, swim downstream passing 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 is 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 has been fully enrolled since January, but you can find info at 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. Applegate Lake (Saturday-Sunday, July 14-15)—USMS-sanctioned: Event Director Todd Lantry and host team Rogue Valley Masters (RVM) will present the 34th annual Southern Oregon open water swims at Applegate Lake, featuring the Oregon LMSC Association 1500-meter Team 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 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  Beaver Sulfer campground may be reserved at 1-877-444-6777 or  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 26-28)—USMS Sanctioned: Event Director Bob Bruce and host team COMA will present the 25th anniversary 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.  Event info and online entry at  Online entry only—there will be NO DAY-OF-RACE ENTRIES as we have done in the past.The nearby group campgrounds were not available this year, so COMA is out of the camping business for now.  Campgrounds at Elk Lake and other nearby lakes offer reserved sites through  For cabins at the lake, go to 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 17)—USMS Sanctioned: Event Director Matt Miller and host team Southern Oregon Masters (SOMA), along with local swim guru Ralph Mohr, will present the 13th edition of this popular Oregon Coast event.  The event will include a two-loop 3000-meter swim and a one-loop 1500-meter swims.  Look for the famous Eel Lake brownies along with cookies, fruit, and hot drinks, and the annual Super Bowl payoff dinner hosted by Connie Shuman that evening.  Online entries only, except for day-of-race entries.  Event info and online entry at reservations at Tugman State Park can be made at Reservations Northwest at (800) 452-5687 or  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 or 541-269-1565.
  1. Lake of the Woods Swims (Saturday, September 8)—USMS Sanctioned: Event Director Matt Miller and host team SOMA will present this event in conjunction with the Lake of the Woods Tri-Sport Weekend, extending our season past Labor Day.  The swim event at this beautiful venue will include both 3000-meter and 1500-meter swims (in opposite directions this year) as well as our OMS end-of-season awards.    Event info & online entry at and  The intrepid among you might 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:  RV spots are also available; see the map here:

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!
  • One national championship swim.
  • Venue formats—five single-day, one two-day, and one three-day meeting.
  • Race distances—eighteen 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 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, 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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