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Open Water Swim Clinics

August 15 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm


Swimming in the open water is a way to experience a world of wonder many never see.  When you immerse yourself in one of the bodies of water found across the Pacific Northwest, you can find beauty, happiness, wellness, fitness, peace and serenity and…cold water, waves, barnacled rocks, boat traffic and jellyfish.  How do you deal with those latter elements to get to all the beauty and happiness and wellness and all that?  Simple.  Attend an Open Water Swim Clinic sponsored by the South Whidbey Parks & Aquatics Foundation!

The clinic program for 2021 includes four basic elements.  Prices shown are per session.

Pre-clinic Information Session (Zoom meeting)

Thu | June 10 | 6-7pm | free (advance registration required)

This session will cover basic topics and answer questions about equipment including:  Open water swim gear, including wetsuits (sizing, selecting, etc.) • Where to swim?  Differences between a lake, a river, and the ocean • Safety in the open water • Facing Fear

>> Missed the Pre-Clinic Info Session? We recorded it and you can watch it herePasscode: aVZ!4ZWE

Goss Lake Freshwater Clinic with Triathlon focus

Sat | July 17 | 10am-1pm | $50

A freshwater lake swim to teach open water swimming basics with a focus on triathlon swimming.

Clinic topics include:  Dealing with the Elements • Getting past the Panic • Safety • Weather & Critters • Swim Gear • Wetsuits 101: sizing, choosing, putting on • Breathing & Sighting Techniques • Places to swim around Whidbey and beyond

Additional triathlon-specific topics:  Pre-race preparation • Starts, Finishes & Turns • Pacing • Dealing with the maelstrom • Training & Fueling

REGISTER HERE for the Goss Lake Freshwater Clinic

Seawall Park Saltwater Clinic

Sun | July 18 | 10am-1pm | $50

A saltwater swim clinic to teach the basics of open water swimming in the highly variable conditions of Puget Sound

Clinic topics include:  Dealing with the Elements • Getting past the Panic • Safety • Weather & Critters • Swim Gear • Wetsuits 101: sizing, choosing, putting on • Currents & Tides • Breathing and Sighting Techniques • Places to swim around Whidbey and beyond

REGISTER HERE for the Seawall Park Saltwater Clinic

Guided Saltwater Swims

Mutiny Bay Robinson Beach

Sun | Aug 1 | 10am-12pm | $35

REGISTER HERE for the Mutiny Bay Robinson Beach Saltwater Swim

Maxwelton Beach

Sun | August 15 | 10am-12pm | $35

REGISTER HERE for the Maxwelton Beach Saltwater Swim

This is a series of guided open water swims on the West side beaches of Whidbey Island, to follow and build on the experience you gained at the earlier clinics.  Participants will learn about the specifics of tides, currents, and other conditions commonly found at these public swim locations, and will be shown the details of various swim routes at each site.  Guides will cover the details of swim planning at open water sites, accounting for tides, current, weather, underwater hazards, sea life, boat traffic, and other factors. Post-swim refreshments will be provided for all participants.


  • Participants must already know how to swim
  • Participants must have current membership in US Masters Swimming to provide insurance and liability coverage for the events
  • Participants in the guided saltwater Swims must have open water swimming experience or have attended one of the open water clinics

Bring:  Cloth face covering, goggles, ear plugs, towel. A wetsuit is required for the swims in Puget Sound and are optional but encouraged for the lake swim.

Instructors:  The team for each clinic session is comprised of experienced open water swimmers led by open water swimmer and Ironman Triathlon veteran Matt Simms.  On-water kayak/SUP support will be provided during each of these events.

Benefit:  Clinics benefit the South Whidbey Parks & Aquatics Foundation, whose mission is to make parks and aquatics activities accessible to all residents of the South Whidbey Island community by raising money to fund capital expenses, operating endowments, and scholarships, and is currently working to build a community pool on South Whidbey.

Info:  The Parks & Aquatics Foundation website www.swpaf.org contains additional information on clinic programs.  Inquiries can be sent to info@swparksandaquatics.org.

The clinics will initially be limited to twelve (12) participants per session to allow us to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines that may be in place at the time of the sessions.  If sessions become full and COVID protocols allow, organizers will consider an expansion of the registration limits.


August 15
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
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