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Chicago River Swim

Sunday, September 22, 2024

Swim Course


The Chicago River Swim offers participants a once-in-a-lifetime experience to swim among Chicago’s iconic skyscrapers and under its historic bridges for the first time in nearly 100 years. 

The Swim Course consists of an 800 meter (1/2 mile) long stretch on the river's beautiful main channel, between Wolf Point (to the west) and the State Street Bridge (to the east). The event will host two swim distances:

The long course (2 mile) swimmers will begin at 6:45 AM near the Tiny Tapp (55 West Wacker Dr.). Long course swimmers will complete two counterclockwise loops around the course and finish at the River Theater at the Clark Street Bridge. Short course (1 mile) swimmers will start at 8:00 AM from the Riverwalk near City Winery (11 West Wacker Dr.). Short course swimmers will complete one counterclockwise loop around the course and will also finish at the River Theater at the Clark Street Bridge.

The Swim Course will be well-marked with large, inflatable buoys positioned along the entire 800m length of the course. Any potential swim hazards (inlets, alcoves, docked vessels, etc.) will be marked and protected by spotter kayaks who can intercept swimmers to prevent injury. Kayaks will also line the perimeter of the course to ensure swimmers stay in their respective swim lane.

Lifeguards will be stationed along the course, both on water and on land. Various safety boats will create separation from the Swim Course and the emergency vessel access corridor. Land-based spotters will be positioned at elevated positions to monitor both swimmer and support crew activity. This event will be set on a traffic-free waterway under authority of the U.S. Coast Guard. The swim will be fully supported by a variety of water and land-based rescue and medical personnel.

Click below to see the full Swim Course, and review the Participant Experience section for further details.

Please understand that only authorized participants are allowed into this event, each of whom must comply with mandatory Athlete Briefings and safety instructions. Swimming in the Chicago River is prohibited at any other time of the year. 

Click to Download the Course Map

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