Open Water

open water swimming

Important Note re 2020: 
May 22: We are unlikely to have an open water program this season. While things are opening up slowly there remains countless unknowns regarding Covid-19. At this stage we feel any plans for group swimming would place our coaches and athletes in a position of unacceptable risk. 

About the Program
It's the scariest part of triathlon but it doesn't have to be; like anything, familiarity is the key. Our open water program helps you to learn the key skills and do race simulations to gain confidence, comfort and fitness. Each workout will include coaching, drills and practice in key skills such as sighting, turning and swimming in a crowd. Most swims take place on Saturday mornings. When there is a major event on Saturday, we move the swim to the Thursday evening before.

Our swims take place off the windsurf beach at Britannia (map below) in water that is as close to walkable depth as we can ensure.  Groups meet on the beach preceding the assigned time unless conditions are questionable in which case the coach will be in the parking lot to advise.  Workouts are roughly one hour in duration.  The seasons starts in June with two clinics in which we cover everything in detail then weekly swims start at the end of the month.

New: As outlined in our full year registration information in spring of 2018, the popularity of our program requires us to make some changes to better manage the number of participants. Starting with the 2018-19 season, the open water program is no longer included in the full season membership. We just couldn't know how many would show up on any given weekend. In spring 2019, full season registrants will be given first shot at securing one of the 30 spots in our program. Also, all participants will be required to have Triathlon Ontario membership for insurance purposes. This costs in the neighbourhood of $50 but includes a long list of benefits including a subscription to Triathlon Magazine Canada. If any spots are not taken for the clinics, Ottawa Swimming and OTC members may attend one clinic free of charge. See details below.

Open Water Program Cost 
Ottawa Swimming Full Season Members: $50+HST (must also have Triathlon Ontario membership)
General Public: $100+HST (must also have Triathlon Ontario membership)

Ottawa Swimming members will receive an advanced registration link via email at noon on Monday, April 29, 2019.
Online registration for the general public will open on Monday, May 6 at noon. A link will appear on this page. Sorry, sold out

open water swimming

2019 Schedule:
  • No Swim Advisory: If there is a no swim advisory from the city our workout will go ahead with individuals choosing personally whether they take part or not.  
  • Lightning Policy: Our lightning policy is that we immediately cease the swim on seeing a flash and do not recommence until 30 minutes after the last flash was seen.
  • Unless otherwise noted, all swims take place from the Britannia Beach Windsurf area.  Map below.

Our Pre-Season Clinics

Who Gets to Attend the Clinics
    • We have room for a maximum of 30 participants in each clinic.
    • Open water program registrants (see above) will be given a choice of clinic once they are registered. 
    • Any remaining clinic spots will be made available to those in our pool program and the OTC. These individuals may attend a single clinic for no charge. To take part in the full open water program of weekly swims they must register for the full program.
      • Update April 30: Our program sold out quickly today but we are looking to put on some special clinics to help support those who did not get a spot. If you are interested in taking part in a 2-hour open water clinic please complete this form.
Clinic Details
  • Sunday, June 2, 2019:  Open Water Clinic #1 
      • Time:  9-1030am
        • 45 minute dryland talk followed by 30 minutes or practice in the water
      • Location:  Britannia Beach (Windsurf area - map below)
        • If raining at 9am, dryland talk will be under cover on the east (river) side of the Ron Kolbus Centre - map below.
        • Do not change into wetsuit before clinic.
      • Content: 
        • Explanation and practice of skills: sighting, starts, settling, corners, contact and drafting.
        • Also covered: wetsuits, training and safety aids, dealing with anxiety
      • What to Bring:  
        • Swim wear, swim cap (or two), goggles, towel, towel, warm clothes
        • Wetsuit is optional but highly recommended for the first clinic of the year
        • If bringing a wetsuit, also bring a plastic shopping bag
      • Testimonials
        • You were right! The more open water swimming you do (with lots of company) the easier it is. I actually look forward to it now!  P.B.
        • I used to just swim with a friend up at Meech but that just didn't prepare us for the races! The way you simulate race conditions is perfect, and FUN!  S.G.
  • Sunday, June 9*, 2019:     Open Water Clinic #2  
        • Same details as Clinic #1 above.  

Our Regular Weekly Swim Program

  • Saturday, June 22:  Regular swims commence .  9-10am on the Windsurf Beach
  • Saturday, June 29, 9am
  • Saturday, July 6, 9am
  • Thursday, July 11, 630pm - Bring on the Bay swim is on Saturday
  • Saturday, July 20, 9am 
    • OTC Swimrun option: 500m swim  + 5k run
  • Thursday, July 25, 630pm - National Capital Tri is on Saturday
  • Saturday, August 3, 9am
  • Saturday, August 10, 9am
  • Saturday, August 17, 9am
    • Swimrun Option (500m swim + 2.5k run)
  • Saturday, August 24, 9am
    • OTC Open Water Swim Championship: 1000m swim

map britannia