Open Water Swim CHICAGO

Ohio Street Beach | Multiple Dates Chicago, IL 60611 US Directions

> Signature Swim Clinics

Click here to review prior to attending the Aug 22 event.

By far, Open Water Swim CHICAGO'S most popular offering is the Signature Swim Clinics. These small group sessions are held on Tuesday evenings (May 30, June 27, July 25 and August 22) and designed for new triathletes and open water swimmers who were looking to transfer their indoor swim experience to the open water.

A collection of local coaches will offer basic swim education, then lead the small group through several swim drills with one-on-one feedback. The following topics will be addressed in each small group clinic:

  • How open water swimming differs from the pool
  • Rules of the triathlon swim
  • Swim etiquette at Ohio Street Beach
  • Properly wearing & removing a wetsuit
  • Common issues (hyperventilating, poor breathing, swells, etc.)
  • Basic principles of sighting
  • Swimming in packs
  • Various short distance swim drills 

Participants may register for each of the four signature dates independently or all at once. During the registration process, all Swim Clinic (and Swim-On-Your-Own) participants must select from one of three start times (4:00 PM, 5:15 PM or 6:30 PM) as well as
 "Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced" level clinics. Swim Coaches will teach from a standardized curriculum with the following standards in mind:

  • Beginner: No to little open water experience. First-timers should select this option.
  • Intermediate: Enough experience to comfortably swim on your own (non-stop) for 20+ minutes.
  • Advanced: Extremely confident swimming on their own (even in challenging water conditions) for 40+ minutes.

We recommend new swimmers enroll in the Beginner clinic session. Once they complete the session and feel confident, they can upgrade to Intermediate or Advanced levels for subsequent sessions. On average, swimmers will participate as a Beginner twice before upgrading to Intermediate level. We strongly encourage participants to build toward the Aquathlon option in August -- a great race simulation for the Chicago Triathlon or other late season triathlon. Curriculum levels can be adjusted after the initial registration process.

All participants must be 18 years or older by the event date. Registration opens at $20 plus typical fees, then increase to $30 two weeks prior to each session. Capacity is limited to 150 participants per timeblock, which means many of the events will sell-out. session. Due to capacity restrictions, there are no refunds, deferrals or transfers allowed. 


The clinics are designed to acclimate new triathletes and novice swimmers to open water swimming, not necessarily to teach the fundamentals of swimming (although we're happy to refer anyone who needs 1:1 instruction). At the least, OWS participants must be able to tread water on their own, comfortably place their face under the surface, and maintain some level of forward propulsion.

We recommend all participants arrive 45 minutes prior to the start of their session. It will take time to check-in with event staff, rent a wetsuit (if they prefer), use the Gear Check facility, and gather on the beach for a briefing before the session begins.

The clinics will last 45 minutes. Participants are encouraged to continue swimming on their own once their formal session concludes. All participants must fully exit the water by 7:30 PM when the event officially concludes. An email confirmation will be sent four days prior to each session with more instruction. Visit the Event Details page for more insight into the event day experience. 


While we require all participants to have a general ability for self-sufficiency, Chicago Park District Life Guards will be on-hand throughout each session. Additionally, staff and coaches will monitor the swim course and support participants from the sea wall and via stand-up paddle board.

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