Skip to main content

Open Water Swim CHICAGO

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



Open Water Swim CHICAGO was launched in 2012 to help new triathletes and novice swimmers experience open water swimming in a safe, non-intimidating environment. Since inception, more than 15,000 participants have directly enhanced their swim abilities from our clinics and special events.

These community-focused sessions provide participants with expert coaching, gear check, wetsuit rental opportunities, life guard support and post-event socials with fellow participants and coaches.

While we're best known for developing aspiring adults, OWS Chicago also serves experienced triathletes looking to refresh their skills and/or push themselves with fellow enthusiasts. Veterans often enroll in the Swim-On-Your-Own or the competitive Aquathlon options to stay focused on their performance goals.

The Open Water Swim CHICAGO series features three ways to participate: 

  1.  Open Water Swim Clinics: Small group swim instruction for beginner, intermediate or advanced-level swimmers looking for open water tips and techniques.  
  2.  Swim-On-Your-Own: This option is for those participants who prefer to utilize the event services (gear check, wetsuit rental, etc) but swim independently. 
  3.  Competitive Aquathlon: Swimmers complete a 750m or 1500m swim followed by a 3.1 mile (5k) run along the lakefront.

The historic success of this entire swim operation revolves around support from our dedicated coaching community. Dozens of incredible local event professionals and coaches support each of our sessions. OWS Chicago is constantly incorporating new, qualified triathlon and swim-savvy coaches into the clinic curriculum. These sessions are a great way to give back to the sport, as well as meet potential new personal training clients. Please email us should you be interested in lending a hand.

This may be a series, but the four sessions operate independently. Participants may enroll in one, two, three or all sessions -- relative to their goals and preference for learning in the small group environment. Participants should use these sessions to grow familiar with swimming in Lake Michigan, eventually gaining confidence to return with others and train on their own.

All OWS Chicago sessions are hosted at Ohio Street Beach located at 600 N. Lake Shore Drive in downtown Chicago. Parking can be tricky in the area, so we strongly recommend reserving a nearby garage using SpotHero. 

Registration rates open at a nominal $20 plus typical service fees for all sessions. Prices will increase to $30 within two weeks of each session (see schedule below):

  • Session #1: Price increase (from $20 to $30) on Tuesday, May 14
  • Session #2: Price increase (from $20 to $30) on Saturday, June 1
  • Session #3: Price increase (from $20 to $30) on Tuesday, June 11
  • Session #4: Price increase (from $20 to $30) on Saturday, June 29
  • Session #5: Price increase (from $20 to $30) on Tuesday, July 9
  • Session #6: Price Increase (from $20 to $30) on Tuesday, August 6
  • Session #7: Price Increase (from $20 to $30) on Tuesday, August 9

Event capacity is limited to 150 participants per timeblock, many of which will sell-out in advance. Participants must be 18 years or older by the event day. Participants must be able to tread water on their own, comfortably place their face under the surface, and maintain some level of forward propulsion to enroll.

Wetsuits are very common for open water swimming and triathlon. Not only do swim-specific wetsuits provide a bit of warmth against cold water temperatures (Lake Michigan water temperatures range between 55-75°F through the season), but they're constructed of neoprene -- providing an incredible amount of buoyancy to keep swimmers afloat and more hydrodynamic. It's estimated that 70% of athletes utilize a wetsuit for triathlon swimming.

If you don't own a wetsuit, you're in good hands. Our friends from Urban Tri Gear provide a small inventory of demo wetsuits for use during the sessions (excluding Saturdays and the final Tuesday event on August 20). A $25 rental fee applies, which can be used as credit towards purchase of a new wetsuit. Urban Tri Gear also offers 5-day wetsuit rentals ($55 sleeveless, $65 full-sleeve) as part of these sessions. The walk-up rental opportunity is great for last-minute needs, but we strongly recommend you contact them in advance to secure your rental suit that's guaranteed to fit you. They will coordinate all logistics. 

If you're able, we encourage you to try-out multiple wetsuits (long sleeve, sleeveless, swim skins, etc.) before you purchase one for yourself. It's a good idea to know what makes you most comfortable in the water, and to continually use the same wetsuit for the majority of your training and racing.

These events have a strict no-refund and no-transfer policy, especially due to the limited capacity. If you are unable to attend for any reason, you are not eligible for reimbursement. Should the session be cancelled, management will do its best to offer a make-good relevant to the situation but refunds will not be issued. Thank you for understanding.

Are you ready to learn more about Open Water Swim CHICAGO? 
  >  Explore our three event options by clicking the links above. 
  >  Click Here to learn more about the actual Event Day experience. 
  >  View prior event photos and updates on our Facebook or Instagram pages.
  >  Click the "Register" button if you're ready to commit (opens March 21).
  >  Send us an email with questions or other needs.

We look forward to seeing you at Ohio Street Beach!

-  HOME  - 


Ohio Street Beach
600 N. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL US 60611


Event Series Contact Info

If you have any questions about this Event Series, click the button below.


Like this page and invite your friends on Facebook.

Jump-In With Us!

Opt-in to our newsletters more information about our 2024 OWS series.

If you continue to use this site, you consent to use all cookies. We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Read how we use cookies and how you can control them by visiting our Privacy Policy.

If you continue to use this site, you consent to use all cookies.