Willamette River Swim Clinics

Practicing ‘wild’ open water swimming in the heart of Salem, Oregon.

Saturday, July 10 and Saturday, July 17

8:45 am to 10:30 am

Start and finish location at

Riverfront Park, downtown Salem, Oregon

 

Note: Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the event.

Registration for July 10 is closed. Slots are still available for July 17.

Clinic Purpose
Mediterra Swim is partnering with Swim Oregon to support swimmers preparing for triathlon river swims, such as the 70.3 half IM race on July 25, and the Salem Rotary Riverfest Triathlon (traditionally) in September, we are pleased to offer these open water swimming clinics in the Willamette River.

You may view the 2019 version of  Salem Rotary Riverfest Triathlon Swim Guide Mediterra has create for participants in this particular race to describe the route and give them some idea of how to prepare adequately to handle the demands of this course.

Join our clinics to get acquainted with the sections of this river swim course, and to practice different aspects of the race experience, including swimming near others, navigation, sighting, turns, swimming against/with/across current, and more.Guidance on open water technique will be offered, but this is not a swim technique lesson. If you are in need of stroke technique, breathing and fitness training you are warmly welcomed to contact us for information about how we can help you with that.

Price
Price is $40 per swimmer for each event.

Schedule and Agenda

Schedule

  • 08:45 / meet at Riverfront Park
  • 09:00 / carpool to Minto Brown Park
  • 09:30 / begin swimming
  • 10:15 / arrive at the dock at Riverfront Park
  • 10:30 / carpool back to Minto Brown Park

Agenda

Swimmers will meet with staff by 8:45 am at the fisherman statue on the north end of Riverfront Park (next to the round-about, at the north parking lot). Swimmers will be interviewed by our leaders to see how we may divide into two swim groups.

We will ask for volunteers to drive as we carpool to Minto-Brown Park, departing at 9:00. Swimmers will wear and carry only what they will swim with. From the parking lot at Minto-Brown Park, we will walk about 200 yards to the entry point on the edge of the river. Shoes (that can get wet) will be placed in a mesh bag and placed in one of our kayaks.

We plan to be “toes in the water” by 9:30. We will use the first 0.5 mile swim (leading to our main starting point) as a current-assisted warm-up swim, to allow swimmers to gently get acquainted with the river. The purpose of this clinic and guided swim is for getting acquainted with the sections of the river swim (or triathlon) course and practicing different aspects of the race experience, including sighting, turns, swimming against/with/across current, and more. This is NOT a race nor intended to function as a fitness training session.

There will be no way to swim back to the entry point once you get in, so be prepared to swim the whole way or to get out and walk quite a ways through Minto Brown Park to wait for the carpool return in the parking area.

After the warmup swim, we will stop and stand on a shallow gravel bar to orient with the starting point of a typical downstream 1.9K swim course. Local ow swimmer and coaching guidance will be offered. With paddler escort, the first (faster) group of swimmers will start first, swim about 1 k, and stop again as a group on the right side shallows to receive guidance on navigation through the second half of the swim. With paddler escort, the second group of swimmers will launch about 2 minutes later and stop as a group at the same point and receive the same guidance.

In the final stretch, all swimmers will turn right into the slough and swim straight for the sternwheeler and dock at Riverside Park. This is the exit point. We anticipate reaching this dock around 10:15. The current assist of this course will greatly decrease the time for a 1.9K swim.

Suitability

Physically fit and capable adult swimmers and swimmers 16 or older accompanied by their parent-swimmer are welcome.

These clinics are suitable for those who are fit and competent in stroke technique to swim continuously for 1500 yards. We will focus on open water specific skills such as navigation, staying calm  and dealing with currents.

This would not be an appropriate time for stroke lessons or for gaining initial fitness to swim such distance.

 

Need Help Preparing To Swim Open Water?

If you are new to triathlon or new to open water swimming, you may consider studying the ebook we wrote especially for you called AYour Guide To A Better Open Water Swim available in epub format in our Shop.

And, we provide patient, skilled instruction for learning to swim and swim better in open water. See your training opportunities with us in Salem and in SW Portland. If you are in need of stroke development or fitness work please seek coaching attention in the pool first. Having a sufficient fitness and technical foundation in place will make your initial open water experience so much safer and pleasant. We would be glad to help you with those needs in the pool – please contact us for more information.

Wetsuit Required?

You may choose to wear a wetsuit or not. It is up to you.

The first consideration for wearing a wetsuit is temperature and staying safe from hypothermia. A sprint triathlon (750 m swim) may have some people in the water up to 20 minutes or more, an Olympic distance triathlon (1500 m swim) may be 40 minutes, and a half IM (1900 m swim) may be 50 minutes.

The river temperature fluctuates each day with the heat and sun intensity, and is affected by the recent weather patterns (including those upstream where the water is coming from!). In late June and in mid September the river may be down around 60 degrees, and except for those who train specifically for cold water swimming, most people will need a wetsuit at these low temperatures. In later July and August the water may be up to the low 70’s, which is comfortable for those who are ‘warm blooded’ or use to cooler water.

The intensity of the sun and the air temperature make a big difference on how you feel in the cool water.

The second consideration is, if you intend to race in the wetsuit, you should train in it as much as possible. A wetsuit significantly alters your position in the water and your freedom of movement. When one is not used to swimming in a wetsuit and suddenly races in one, it can be more stressful than you expected. The squeeze of that suit, combined with the shock of cold water can cause some people to slide into anxiety and then into panic. And each year there are some unfortunate cases of cardiac events as well. I don’t mean to scare anyone… at least not too much. But swimming in wild water in natural conditions is a serious situation and requires a responsible approach in order to be safe and enjoyable.

I encourage you to read a couple of our articles on this topic:

If you have any questions about wetsuits or your fitness to handle the conditions, feel free to contact us.

Safety

This is truly wild open water swimming and we are not in control of the natural forces, nor are we in control of the other people and boats who use this water way. So safety must be taken into your own hands.

The first feature of your safety is your own fitness and skill and attention. You participate at your own risk.

The group will swim the course as a group, stopping at certain points along the course to regroup and to survey the next part of the course.

We will have multiple paddlers escorting the group in kayaks.

In order for us to provide safety, SWIMMERS ARE REQUIRED to use a Swim Safety Buoy – they increase your visibility in the water tremendously. If you plan to train in open water, these are an essential companion.

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