Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska
I'm resurrecting this old thread instead of starting a new one, hope that's okay! I'm new to both Colorado and open water swimming and trying to navigate the options around the Denver Metro for this season. From what I've read online it seems like a lot of the organization is changing hands this year, so I'm trying to figure out what my best options would be. What I've found so far includes...
Highlands Ranch: https://www.swimlabs.com/highlandsranch/programs/open-water-swimming
Can anyone provide guidance on what to expect at these places, what the vibe typically is, water quality at the sites, etc.? Or perhaps have other suggestions on spots that may be welcoming to a newbie like me? (I'm an experienced, slow-ish, pool-trained distance freestyler.)
Thanks in advance!
Of the three, the south gravel pond at Chatfield State Park is spring fed and has best over all water quality. It's been used for almost 30 years as an over water swimming venue, it has the highest concentration of open water purist (non wet-suit wearers) however plenty of triathletes train here as well. Highlands Ranch is really "Grant Ranch" the water quality is decent until about July 4th than it gets warm & weedy. Very triathlete centric, wet-suits even with the water temp approaching the high 70's. However a nice marked course, great if you want to time yourself etc. Neither Chatfield or Grant Ranch allow power boats. Boulder is in the Boulder reservoir, water tends get a little yucky as the season progresses. They do allow power boats. Triathlete oriented, competitive, many folks comparing the advantages of various $800 plus wet-suit brands. One other consideration is the Aurora Reservoir. They have a small quarter mile course for openwater swim training. Water quality is about as good as it gets on the Colorado front range (it is Aurora's drinking water) you can swim anytime dawn to dusk however the area is limited and does get weedy as the season progresses. https://www.auroragov.org/things_to_do/reservoirs/aurora_reservoir/swimming/
Lakespray, thank you so much for your thorough, thoughtful reply! I wish we had a "love" button.
I feel a little better prepared going into this. It's been a challenge to plan an open water schedule from the couch on a snow day, so your message was quite helpful. I will probably start off at Chatfield. I hadn't even thought about Aurora options -- I work out that direction, so that may be just perfect as an after-shift supplement to my regular schedule.
(I'm not an $800 ANYthing kinda girl, and can't for the life of me figure out why someone would want to ruin a good swim by following it with riding and running.)