Open Water

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.

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)


*We look forward to relaunching our open water program in spring 2022!*

Ottawa Swimming members will receive an advanced registration link via email in late April.

Online registration for the general public typically opens in early May. We are hoping community conditions will allow us to do that in 2021 but that is currently uncertain.

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