Hey all! Are there any regular/organized open water practices either done through the club or another organization that folks could direct me to?
I'm new from Chicago and looking to remain in the groove as I make my move. Thanks!
Welcome to the club. The Wave One folks to some regular OWS typically attended by a lot of DC Tri folks. Check them out. http://www.feelthewater.com/Open_Water_Swimming_Calendar.html
Yes, many clubbers do the WaveOne Thursday eve swims at National Harbor, MD.
Others swim fairly regularly at Sandy Pt., MD. And some swim-related organizations, like Sport & Spinal, DC, sometimes hold coached OWS there.
Natl Cap club also holds swims sometimes in Mason Neck, VA:
There's also a Sunday quarry swim near Manassas, VA:
Also, you might watch out for the open-water Swim for Life, MD, & the Purple Swim, Baltimore, upcoming.
Thanks for the info everyone. Apparently WaveOne is the way to go. I'm super grateful for the advice. At the risk of sounding either naive or whiny, though, can I just ask to clarify: is there truly nowhere to swim open water in the DC area without a lengthy drive outside the district or paying $25 for the privilege? Perhaps I never knew how good we had it in Chicago with the lake just sort of being there!
Is it legal/safe/possible to swim in the river on one's own? Does anyone do it?
Ah, you're a fast learner. Sadly, except on Nation's Tri race day, it's illegal to swim in the Potomac, except at National Harbor on Thursdays. And, yes, there's a dearth of lakes in the area. (Now, if you know someone with a house on Alexandria's Lake Barcroft, you're in luck, but that's unlikely.)
So I'll be starting a new post. I'm going to be seeking tips on making friends who live in Lake Barcroft. Tips? Where do these people hang out? What do they drink? Are you one of them? Can I buy you a drink?
Also there are a number of lakes near DC where one would think you would be able to swim if you look at a map but they are boating/fishing only. I would not attempt to swim in a lake without a designated swiming area because I don't want to get run over by a boat. Also there was a recent drowning death in one of the local boating only lakes so I would imagine there will be increased enforcement of swimming bans.
Most of Washington DC is served by what’s called a combined sewer system; so stormwater and sanitary waste share the same pipes on the way to Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant. When we get big rain events the pipes cannot handle all the flow so the excess is dumped untreated into the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, and Rock Creek (this is called a Combined Sewer Overflow-CSO). In theory, the river would be OK to swim in so long as it hasn’t rained hard in about 48 hours. In practice, as Ed said, there is a total ban on swimming in the Potomac.
As you move downstream from the city, the combination of dilution, natural processes, and the tidal influence of the Chesapeake Bay make water swimmable again.
Important to note is that Arlington County has a newer separate sewer system, so we don’t have CSOs from my side of the river…but it’s the same river so we are out of luck.
Most older cities in the US have combined sewer systems, so this is not just a DC issue.
Alejandro (your friendly neighborhood sewage man)
But....DC is in the process of fixing most of this problem with the Clean Rivers Project. The largest construction project in DC since building the metro, when completed it will reduce CSO's by 96%. 18 miles of tunnels under the city and its rivers to store the water from the combined system until it has time to be processed. For your mid-morning viewing pleasure, a cartoon that explains it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ug1hravb9Q
(I swear, I am not a DC Water employee, just a big nerd about things like this).
My god, the Feds and their propaganda machines are brainwashing people again! I thought that ended in 'Nam back in 1973.
The Potomac -- the only body of water, other than the Mekong, to become cleaner after you've pissed in it :)
I swim at Mason Neck State Park most weekends. Besides the $4 to enter the park (in a car, not sure if bike is free), there is no charge. The only charge would be if enough people gather together and it looks like an "event," in which case you'll get in trouble for not paying the event fee.
I just did a nice and easy 4K swim there on Sunday. Weather was overcast, but water was nice, not too warm and flat.
Mason Neck visitor center is what you want your GPS to guide you to. In that parking lot is a driveway labeled "Car top boat launch" or something like that. Park by the visitor center and walk down to the boat launch. Small sandy beach from which to swim. Plenty of trees to hang your clothes/keys on.
Mason Neck is about 15 miles south of Old Town, then about 4 miles east of Hwy 1.
Mason Neck State Park's website says there are no designated swimming areas: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/mas.shtml#swimming
There aren't any, which is good, because then they can't make you wait for a guard or tell you how far you can go.
That being said, please don't go out on the lake without proper preparation! I always wear a bright swim cap so boaters/kayakers can see me.
I've also stated to park rangers in the visitor center and the front gate that I'm going swimming and they never told me no. Also, there are often a couple rangers at the beach (I think they rent out PFDs) when I come in from my swim. They showed no concerns at all.
I've had more questions from the fishermen I swim by, normally "Where the hell did you just swim from?" ;)
Thanks Mike! I didn't know you can swim at Mason Neck either. I may be heading out there this weekend for a swim!
Skip Saturday morning. Another masters team is having a team practice.
I might see you there, bronxking!