The warmer weather is upon us, and as the air temperature heats up so will the lakes. For most triathletes, the swim is the most difficult part of a triathlon, especially swimming in open waters. To get more comfortable in the water, here are a few open water swim groups and races across Canada.

Start of the Tecumseh Triathlon. Photo: Brad Reiter

Related: Where to go for an open water swim across Canada

Open Water Swim Group and Race: LOST Swimming – http://lostswimming.com/

The Lake Ontario Swim Team (LOST) is an open water group that meets weekly on Saturday mornings and swims out of Oakville, Ontario. Now with over 100 members, LOST has grown to be known around the world. It was also the birthplace of the Global Swim Series. Each week a swim course is set up allowing athletes to train and get more comfortable with open water swimming. It’s the safest and most organized open water swim group in Ontario.

The LOST Race is the annual swim race put on by the group and attracts a few hundred swimmers each year. The swim is a 3.8 K (Ironman distance) point-to-point swim that takes swimmers along the shoreline of some of Lake Ontario’s most beautiful real estate. There is also a LOST Mile distance available to swimmers as well.

Swim at Tecumseh Triathlon. Photo: Brad Reiter

Open Water Swim Race: Traversée du Lac Tremblant – http://traverseelactremblant.ca/

Now in its 2nd year of existence, Traversée du Lac Tremblant is quickly gaining a following. This year organizers expect around 500 swimmers. Taking place in Lac Tremblant outside of the ski resort, this event makes for a great weekend. Taking place in the same area as Ironman Mont-Tremblant, this swim is also an excellent tune-up for those competing. Distances include 1K, 3K and the challenging 12km crossing of the lake.

Antoine Desroches at Ironman Mont-Tremblant. Photo: Jerome Bergeron.

Related: Learn to love swimming

Open Water Swim Group: Vancouver Open Water Swim Association – https://www.vowsa.bc.ca/

The Vancouver Open Water Swim Association is a group of swimmers and triathletes that offers several swims throughout the year in the Greater Vancouver Area. Most of the swimmers wear wetsuits based on the temperature, so it’s a great chance for triathletes to get more comfortable with their open water swimming. They also put on three races throughout the season:

  • The Canada Day Challenge – Taking place in Sasamat Lake in Port Moody, this race offers pristine views in a beautiful park.
  • The Kitsilano Challenge – Taking place at famous Kitsilano Beach, this swim offers a variety of different distances and a beautiful location with the view of the city in the background
  • The Bay Challenge – The most challenging swim of the season at 9.6km this can be done as a solo or a relay and is a great goal for swimmers to work towards. Swim from Sandy Cove in West Vancouver to Kitsilano Beach. Beautiful views accompany swimmers the entire way.
West Vancouver with a view of Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park. Photo: Cam Mitchell

Open Water Swim Race: Bring on the Bay – https://bringonthebay.com/

Taking place in the Ottawa River, swimmers swim across the beautiful Britannia Bay. The race offers a 3K and 1.5K swim. This is the largest open water swim in Ontario with 850 swimmers expected for 2019. Bring on the bay is one of the founding races in the Global Swim Series.

Open Water Swim Race: Across the Lake Swim – https://acrossthelakeswim.com/

The largest and longest running open water swim in Canada, this 2.1K swim in Kelowna, BC has swimmers swim across Lake Okanagan. Having run every year since 1949, this year’s swim marks the 70th anniversary. It’s considered one of the top open water swims in the world.

Open Water Swim Race: Toronto Island Lake Swim – https://www.torontoislandlakeswim.com/

Take a 15-minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto to Centre Island for this unique swim.  The rectangular course runs along the shore and is easy to follow, has safety support provided by the beaches’ lifeguards and gives swimmers a great opportunity to compete at a variety of different distances (750m, 1.5K and 3.8K).

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