Swimming in Seattle

calypsocalypso Member
edited February 2015 in Locations & Networking
I will be in Seattle around Thanksgiving. I was wondering if I could join a local OW swimming group for a swim there. How cold does the water get at that time of the year? Or do swimmers just wait for warmer summer waters?


  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    @malinaka is from the area I think...

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    @calypso: You can. You Can. YOU CAN!

    There are no "groups" per se that swim in winter, but there are groups of people that occasionally go swimming all year long.

    The best thing to do is post something on Facebook's Western Washington Open Water Swimming before you get to town. Or get in touch with me. Or both.

    The best spots include Alki (AL-kye) Beach...and I'm sure there are others, but I'm biased. The temps in the Sound are around 55 right now and will only drop to 45 in January. Lake Washington is around 70 at the moment, and will get into the low 40s over the winter. But if you are going to jump in cold water, at least treat yourself to the underwater scenery of Alki. If you need me to further extol the virtues of Alki for you, I will.

    See you in a few months!

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • Thank you, @ironmike!
  • Thank you, @Malinaka!
    I'd be very interested in swimming at whatever location u recommend and would love to join a happy swim bunch in the process. I'll be in touch as I get closer to flying to SEA. Again thanks so much for sharing this info. :)
  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMember
    Would any of the Seattle-ites here be willing to give me the low-down on Masters groups in the city ? I'm aware of the USMS search feature but am curious to hear more subjective testimony. Thanks.
  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    @bruck I finally ended up a Husky Masters (younger, fast) after swimming with Blue Wave (great coach, great pool) for a bit. I'll message you some more details of the teams around here, but may I recommend Alki Beach?

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    GLAD has been around for a long time, is well organized and supports open water swimming, (Fat Salmon). They practice at Evans (Greenlake) pool in the early am and Colman (outdoors) on Saturdays during the summer.

    ORCA is a LGBTQ (+friendly) group based at Seattle U, very nice people and they also support open water swimming (ORCA OWS @ Luther Burbank).

    Husky Masters practice at UW. My sweetie swam with them for many years and really enjoyed the workouts and the friends he made. I don't know what their coaching situation is like now, but he'd been really happy with the coaches in the past. Lots of these folks participate in OWS.

    East of Seattle, Lake WA masters coach Becca Watson is very well respected in the community. They turn out for OWS events in force.

    South of Seattle is BWAQ (actually a separate club). They have workouts at a bunch of pools (including KCAC) around Federal Way/Kent area. They host the PNA champs meet and Last Gasp of Summer OWS. There are some really fun people in this organization who are passionate about open water.

    I'm casually acquainted or friends with swimmers in all of these groups and I'd feel comfortable jumping in for a workout with any of them. You should probably drop in for a workout with any of them who have convenient time/location for you and see how you like the coaching styles and of course, the swimmers!

    I'm building a (tiny) team, Vashon OWS, (aka the Dilworth Mermaids, but guys are absolutely welcome), for swimmers on the island and West Seattle (or other nearby locales). We don't have formal pool workouts (no year-round public pool on-island) but we do have semi-regular open water swims. Currently Sundays at 10am at Dilworth beach. Typically about 2 miles this time of year, anywhere from 2-6 (I did say tiny!) of us show up. We hosted a "Pumpkin Pie Plunge" the day after Thanksgiving last year. And yes, there was pie!

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    I neglected to mention that BWAQ member Zena Courtney puts on a cool race from Vashon Island to Point Defiance, which was described to me as "tougher than Alcatraz" by a woman who had previous experiences at Alcatraz to compare the two. I believe she said August 22nd for this year, although nothing has been posted yet.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMember
    Thanks very much Wendy and @malinaka! This gives me lots of options to work with. And I may take you up on that Alki invite sometime! But brrr!
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Glad I found this thread - I'll be in Seattle in late May and would love to swim OW somewhere, preferably with friends.
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