Open Water
2017 Open Water Swims

Big Blue Adventures' Lake Tahoe Open Water

19 Orinda Aquatics Open Water Swimmers traveled to Tahoe/Truckee from August 25-27, 2017, for a fun-filled weekend.

The swimmers represented OA well on the podium after in the Big Blue Adventures’ Lake Tahoe Open Water Races:

Men’s 1.2 Mile Non-Wetsuit: Jack Larsen placed 2nd with a time of 23:39.

Women’s 1.2 Mile Non-Wetsuit: OA Swept the podium within 16 seconds of each other: 1st place: Anna Mills, 2nd place Carla Leone, and 3rd place Maya Supran.  

2.4 Mile Non-Wetsuit: Sean Percin took 1st place overall with a time of 49.45, and keeping it in the family, Brittany Percin took 2nd place overall with a time of 53.12.  

After a night under the stars, Sunday morning, 19 swimmers and several parent volunteers descended on Donner Lake for the 2.7 mile Private Donner Lake Crossing.  All 19 swimmers conquered Donner Lake without wetsuits – with some racing the crossing, and others using it as an opportunity to practice drafting off each other, sight-seeing, socializing, or racing “Phoenix” (the dog) to the other side.  Notably, Jack Larsen raced for a 1:01 finish, followed by Lizzie Follmer (@ 1:07).  

2012 Open Water Swims:
Del Valle Open Water Festival
Sunday, June 10th.
This is the best(warmest) open water swim - a great intro to open water swimming. Orinda Aquatics will only be attending on Sunday races(8:30 am .75 mile (recommended) or the 2.5 km @ 10:00).
2012 Tiburon Mile Open Water:
Sunday, Sept. 9th - Register NOW
If you plan on swimming the Tiberon Mile at the end of the summer, the online entry is now available (There is an entry limit & it will sell out). Let Donnie know if you sign up for the event.
2011 Fleet Week Alcatraz Swim
12th Annual Tiburon Mile Open Water Swim
Sunday, September 18th, 2011
OA Swimmers had quite a showing at this year's Tiburon Mile! Sven Campbell came in 2nd in the wetsuit division! In the "skin" division, Age Group results were very solid with Megan Howard (5th), Meghan Bicamong (6th), Megan Fuqua (18th), Alexa Hanley (20th), Christine Lum (22nd), Jenna Haufler (26th) and Sam Swinton (27th) representing OA girls. On the boys side, Talbot Jacobs (4th), Albert Miao (7th), Cameron Hoyh (10th) and Mitchell Carlson (41st) all had solid swims.
Getting Ready is half the Aquatic Park the day before:

Results are available at:

Lake Del Valle 2011 Results:

OA had a great turnout with representation from Junior and Senior swimmers.  OA had three men finish in the top twelve overall.   Age Group Results: Kiera O’Brien 2nd, Vilisoni Taufa 7th, Alexa Hanley 3rd, Michael Wright 5th, Meghan Bicomong 4th, Ariel Thomas 9th, Sam Mladjov 11th, Camile Caldwell 13th, Cameron Hoyh 2nd, Big Bert Miao 3rd, Robbie Ashby 1st. Master’s: Cathy Hanley 1st (25-29!).  The rumor is Alexa let her mom win to keep her allowance!

August 2011:
OA Master’s swimmer swimming the English Channel! 
In an email, she says, “I just wanted to touch base with you to say thank you again for all of your encouragement and support.  I am leaving a week from Wednesday (August 3rd) and my window of opportunity opens August 7-12.  I will proudly wear my OA cap.  Think good thoughts for me to have warm water and calm seas for my crossing.  There is nothing left for me to do except eat, sleep and swim a bit... and mentally prepare for success.  This has been an amazing journey and I am grateful for your support.  This has been a time of great joy in my life.”  All the best, Ranie;
See Ranie Pearce’s blog at:


Lake Del Valle Swim 2010

Rick Arnason (of Piedmont Swim Team) is our Volunteer Open Water Coach 

First Time Swimming in San Francisco Bay: Training For the Tiburon Mile


The Tiburon Mile:

The Tiburon Mile Team                                          They worked up an appetite!

The Megans: We did it!

General Information on Open Water Competition:

Many people are excited to get involved in Open Water swimming, either for a new twist on training or to take advantage of the expanding competitive opportunities. There are some potential risks and hazards, but with thoughtful planning in advance, Open Water swimming can open up whole new worlds for both athletes and coaches.  Let’s look at some of the things you, as a coach, must do in order to plan Open Water training or an Open Water event. First, identify the factors that you will be dealing with to eliminate unforeseen risks. The known factors are age, experience, physical ability and athlete to supervisor ratio. Plan an experience that is appropriate for your athletes and staff!

The need for efficiently organized safe swims is imperative. The swim, either for training or competition, may follow several different course types:

  1. Parallel to a shore
  2. To or around a fixed point or landmark such as a rock, island or pier
  3. Around a closed course marked by buoys
  4. Point to point

Direct supervision, adequate coach to swimmer ratio and thorough instruction are key elements in open water swimming. If you are ill-prepared, you could find yourself and your athletes in trouble. Plan how you will account for every swimmer who enters the water. Make sure that you have enough escort craft, with you for the size of your group. For example, you may have three kayaks, one in the lead, one tailing and one to respond to emergencies. If you have to stop for one athlete, you do not want to leave the others unattended. Develop clear signals for athletes to let you know if they need assistance. Also develop signals to let the athletes know that they should look up or stop.

Be familiar with water conditions such as temperature, water clarity, waves and currents. Be aware and warn the swimmers of any natural or manmade hazards such as rocks, piers and submerged objects. Monitor weather conditions for any possible storms or abrupt temperature changes. Be prepared to terminate the swim at the first sign of foul weather.

It is also important that swimmers be prepared and physically able to complete the swim distance. Your athletes might be able to handle the distance going out, but might struggle coming back. Swimmers should complete several short swims in controlled areas before attempting a longer more challenging swim. Some swimmers may have very real fears of swimming in open water and may need to be gradually encouraged.

In addition coaches need to be well prepared to deal with potential hypothermia, dehydration and deep water rescue. In spite of the additional risks encountered outside of a pool, open water swimming provides great training and diversion from swimming laps in the pool. Proper planning can reduce or eliminate these risks.

 Open Water Meet Safety

  1. Define the course with a clearly marked start area, turn markers and finish line
  2. Design the course to minimize confusion and avoid head-on traffic patterns
  3. Eliminate changes in course direction where the course is likely to be congested, such as at the start
  4. Seek the advice of local experts such as the Beach Patrol or Parks Department, the Red Cross, the USA Swimming Local Swim Committee (LSC), the Coast Guard and the Harbormaster.
  5. Have a clear emergency action plan and medical evacuation plan
  6. Set up safety monitor stations with first aid supplies and emergency signaling devices
  7. Be prepared to cancel the event in case of inclement weather
  8. Account for every participant who enters and exits the water
  9. Have a public briefing to go over rules and procedures with all participants
  10. Line up escort and pilot boats

For additional information on open water meet safety, consult the USA Swimming Open Water Meet Manager’s Guide.