Wanted: Open water swim places in WashDC

When I did my first tri earlier this summer it was clear that I didn’t do enough open water swimming beforehand. By enough I mean ‘more than a few laps’ between two docks. Actually to be fair to myself, I did get in two 2500 yard open water workouts in, but they were in fairly shallow water and only at about 400 yards a shot requiring a brief stop at each end (between two points, see below screenshot).


I immediately made it a goal to get in as many open water workouts as I could whenever I traveled away from DC to a place that had open water places to swim. I immediately saw a dramatic improvement in my open water swimming skills within about two workouts.

The only problem for me is that in DC I simply have no open water swimming. None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. The nearest ‘available’ lake is over an hour’s drive south along I-95. Although I could actually consider going about 45 minutes away towards Annapolis and possibly get in some open water there near Sandy Point. But my policy on open water swimming is never do it alone unless I can stand up in the water at all times, and I have no friends that want to partake in such activities.  🙁

Anyone know of any open water places around DC they’d like to share (and share in swimming as a buddy)? I figure it will take a few months until the water gets too cold for even wetsuits. Anything above  low-50’s and I’m game!


Hopefully, you found this post useful. The website is really a labor of love, so please consider becoming a DC RAINMAKER Supporter. This gets you an ad-free experience, and access to our (mostly) bi-monthly behind-the-scenes video series of “Shed Talkin’”.

Support DCRainMaker - Shop on Amazon

Otherwise, perhaps consider using the below link if shopping on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. It could simply be buying toilet paper, or this pizza oven we use and love.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

Click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture



  1. thanks for the comment on my RR!

    you were first in the chute.

    as always, i appreciate you reading.

    you can always come to Boulder to swim, if that helps… probably not huh…

  2. I would suggest the Potomac, but then well, its the Potomac. The canal maybe? I think Adam knows of a 50 meter pool that doesnt have lane markers or lane lines that might help.

  3. Unfortunately, that pool is only open during the summer (Ft Myer in Arlington). I struggle with finding open water swims in the area. Joining a tri club helps, since they go in groups, so you don’t have to worry about swimming by yourself. However, they are usually scheduled during the summer. You listed the only places I know of within close proximity. Keep me posted if you find anything!

  4. If you are still looking….the best deal in town (if you can call it that 2 hours south) is the Richmond TRI Club. Join for $25 a year. They sponsor chaparoned open water swims every other Friday from May-September.
    It is tons of fun, swimming up current, and more fun swimming back downstream!

  5. Found your blog via a google search for “open water swimming DC”. I love open water swimming more than life itself and am sad that there’s really no place to do it around here!

    I used to have a friend who lived in the Montclair subdivision down by Dumfries, and she’d let me use her lake pass to swim in their private lake. For a year or two after she moved, I still snuck into the lake with the old lake pass, claiming I forgot my new one at home, but they caught on. Sadly, no one on Craig’s List responds to a “Do you live in Montclair? Do you want to be my friend? Can I use you for your lake access?” ad!!

    I don’t run or bike… really, just swim. So joining a tri-club really isn’t up my alley. I’m obviously not nearly as athletic as you (I average 2-3 swims/week, usually around 2500m each, sometimes more, sometimes less). But still, I’d love to know if you find any more places in the area.

    Once it warms up some, I think I’ll go try out this park: link to dnr.maryland.gov — there is no lifeguard on duty, so it looks potentially promising (no one to keep you in the roped off areas).

    Going to “subscribe” to your blog to see if you come up with any more places to go.

    btw… where were those “two docks” that you mention in this post? Seems like it’d be a better alternative than the “nothing” I’ve got right now! 🙂

  6. The two docks were actually out in Seattle – at a wetsuit trial event. 😉

    Given it’s taken a wee bit longer than usual to get OW swimming warmed up here this year, I’m a bit behind – but looking to get out sooner or later. Likely Sandy Point as the first stop, but I’ve got a slew of little places I’ve cycled past that I wouldn’t mind trying.

  7. Hey there…. I also found this blog post via googling “open water swimming.” Personally, I always have trouble picturing in mymind where all thepotential swim locations are around the DC area, so I made a google map. Enjoy.

  8. Just found this post, again from Google search. If you are still trying to swim in the area, I am game to try better local options.

    Last weekend I kayaked in the Potomac, and jumped in for a swim. It seems like if you had a kayak escort with a second seat left empty, you would be following the same rules as all the water skiers. Water quality was fine in my non-microscopic opinion. I also have thought extensively about swimming the C & O canal when they pump new water in.

    I also saw people jumping from the new sea wall at the just opened water front park in Georgetown, then climbing up a construction safety ladder to do it again. Looked fun, and no one seemed to be intervening to stop it.

    Send me a note if you’re up for trying a few local spots in the Potomac.

  9. I’m also looking for an OWS – this Saturday to be exact. DC Tri has their training tri, but of course I didn’t see it. I was hoping to stumble upon a swim team or something that does regular open water swims. Please let me know if you have found anything!


  10. Jessie

    I did this swim today and thought it was awesome and not too far from DC for a sunday drive: link to rehabtoracing.com