This option is for those who prefer to utilize the convenient event services (secured Gear Check, wetsuit rentals, life guards, post-event socials, etc), but swim independently. Swim Coaches and Event Staff will be happy to provide advice and answer questions as needed.
The Swim-On-Your-Own option is available for both the Tuesday evening and Saturday morning options.
Three large buoys will mark the swim course, providing a Sprint distance option (375 meters one-way, or 750m round trip) and an Olympic distance option (750 meters one-way, or 1.5k round trip). Distance markers (in meters) will be posted at each exit ladder throughout the entire course, allowing swimmers to know their exact distance from the start buoy. Please review the Course Map here.
It is assumed that anyone choosing the Swim-On-Your-Own option is comfortable in the water, and a relatively proficient swimmer. This program is not intended to teach the fundamentals of swimming (although we're happy to recommend coaches for 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.
Much like the Swim Clinic participants, those who prefer the Swim-On-Your-Own option must choose a dedicated start time (4:00 PM, 5:15 PM or 6:30 PM) when enrolling in a Tuesday session. Those enrolling in a Saturday session can check-in and swim anytime between 8:00 AM and 11:00 AM. Registration opens at $20 plus typical fees, then increase to $30 two weeks prior to each session. All participants must be 18 years or older by the event date. Event capacity is limited to 150 participants per timeblock, which means many of the events will sell-out. Due to capacity restrictions, there are no refunds, deferrals or transfers allowed.
We recommend all participants arrive 30-45 minutes prior to the start of their session. Participants will check-in for their appropriate session, rent a wetsuit (Tuesday sessions only), use the Gear Check facility then gather on the beach for a briefing. After the orientation, these swimmers may enter the water and swim as much as they please along the dedicated swim course. Event staff will simulate a mass start process for those who prefer a race simulation. Others may simply swim on their own.
All swimmers must exit the water when the swim event officially concludes. An email confirmation will be sent prior to each session with more instruction. Visit the Event Details page for more insight into the typical 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.