How to be a Pool Swim Pro

If you live in the United States of America right now, you’re aware of the deep freeze that was gripping the entire country. We’re unsure of how there are even any pools left to swim in- haven’t they all turned to blocks of ice in the ground by now?!

Pool swim kids backs

The summer sun and open water season may be months away, but that hardly means that your local indoor pool can’t get some good use. Instead of worrying about those pesky New Year’s resolutions, why not resolve to do something for others and start a Swim Across America pool swim? Here are a few tips on how to be a Pool Swim Pro, deep freeze or sunny skies!

Have a Vision, but Be Open to it Changing:

It’s always best to have an idea of what you want an event to be like before you take it on, and to realistically assess your goals and visions. However, if things change along the way

Get Help from Us!

We put on large-scale-swims all the time, and we love helping our directors reach their goals and launch a great event. Request the official guide, “How to Host a Pool Swim” and we’ll help you, our newly minted Event Director, get everything going!

Break Out Your Calendar:

Even though SAA provides you with marketing materials, tips, fundraising software, and everything for event day, you’ll need ample time to secure a pool, a date, recruit volunteers and gain some fundraising momentum. Planning ahead is the key to building up a great event!

Fundraise Like a Boss:

It’s work, but ultimately, fundraising for your pool swim can be extremely rewarding, especially when you see the impact it has. Three major fundraising tips: Start Early, Be Pleasant and Persistent, and Get Personal. Every little bit counts, and every little bit makes a difference!

Enjoy the Day!

Event day can be stressful, but don’t forget to take a step back and absorb the magnitude of what you’ve accomplished. Have fun! Smile and get excited!

Brain Waves

What we think about when we swim can be varied and unpredictable. Sometimes it depends on the day, sometimes it depends on the set, and sometimes it depends on the swimmer. We at Swim Across America know from experience that the thoughts that float through our heads while we’re floating through the water will fall into some distinct and interesting categories.


Here are the most common Brain Waves that we catch during a workout.

The IPod- This brain wave is a gift- or a curse. There are times when a song is stuck in your head, and the annoyance makes you as dizzy as the constant flip-turns. There are other times that a solid tune gets in there, and it pumps you up and gets you through a set. Either way, who needs headphones?

The Blank Book- There are some swimming brains that can go an entire practice without thinking about anything, really. How relaxing! These lucky swimming fools get an hour or two of brain shut-off while getting their workout in, and they’re the envy of many. (Including ourselves, can’t you tell?)

The Planner- We must be conditioned because of all those 6am workouts, but many swimmers cruise through a practice and come out with a plan for the next twelve hours. Especially during sets with long yardage, the Planner brain wave lets you dive in a groggy mess and climb out with a mental To-Do list, ready to attack your day. 

The Abacus- Similar to the Blank Book, the Abacus wave almost shuts the mind completely off, save for one thing- it’s countin’ meters like it’ll never count again. Sometimes the only thing we can think about is how many laps we’ve got left, and sometimes it’s just that relaxing, monotonous time-waster that gets us through a set.

The Worst- There are times when you can’t think about anything else but the pain. It sears into your brain like the lactic acid searing into your muscles. Try and try you may to catch another brain wave, it just won’t stick. The Worst wave makes for the most miserable sets, but toughing it out is almost a right of passage in the swimming world! 

The Kobayashi- You will never encounter a swimmer who has avoided this brain wave. For many swimmers, it’s rare to actually register hunger during a practice, yet that hardly stops us from daydreaming about the mountain of food we’ll get to consume after a rip-roaring workout. Do you even know what a Vermonster is? Of course you don’t… unless you’ve tasted victory over it after a 4-hour Christmas training session.

WOW! What a Year!


Happy Halloween! While we at SAA were coming up with costume ideas this week, we also ran the numbers on our open water events for 2013. What we found were some frighteningly exciting statistics! Here’s a recap of our open water events for the season- they’re no trick, and certainly a treat!

Two NEW Swim Across America Labs!

Both our Dallas and Seattle swims hit the $1 million mark for fundraising this year, which is amazing! The Innovative Clinical Trials Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center was renamed the Swim Across America Innovative Clinical Trials Center after hitting $1 million in giving. In only its third year, SAA Dallas continues to break records and make waves.

Over on the west coast, SAA Seattle also hit the $1 million fundraising mark and was recognized by beneficiary Seattle Cancer Care Alliance by naming their lab for us. This is the fifth Swim Across America lab in the country, demonstrating our growth as an organization and the tirelessness of our participants and donors.

Our Babes are Getting Bigger! 

A couple of our very new swims completely blew us out of the water this year. Atlanta is the youngest of the open water siblings, and this May, it hit $250,000 in fundraising! Set on beautiful Lake Spivey, all donations from this inaugural swim went directly to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The second youngest in the SAA family, SAA Nantucket, was not to be outdone by its baby sib, though. In only it’s second year, Nantucket flew past its fundraising goal like Phelps by the competition and raised $180,000. The 55% jump in fundraising can be attributed to the dedication of all the swimmers that make this late summer event a blast!

The New Kids in Town

SAA Chicago debuted a new event at their swim this year in addition to their ½, 1, 1½ or 3 mile distance choices. The new Relay Swim across Lake Michigan was a hit, and helped the already firmly established swim raise almost $400,000 for the Rush University Cancer Center this past July.

The Michael Phelps Swim School also partnered with Swim Across America this year to offer the new Breakowt clinics to swimmers in Baltimore and Seattle. The innovative and comprehensive training session brings confidence and skill to new open water swimmers, and was run the day before each SAA swim.

Makin’ Waves, Breakin’ Records

Three of our open water swims made us proud as they reached new heights this summer. In tiny Rhode Island, the annual swim at Narragansett hosted a whopping 500 swimmers! A record number for this swim, all proceeds from participants went to Women and Infants Hospital.

Some say the Golden Gate Bridge that gleams over the Bay is the main attraction of the SAA San Francisco swim, and apparently a lot of potential participants thought so! The swim sold out all of its spots a week and a half in advance, and raised over half a million dollars.

SAA Greenwich followed suit, with over half a million dollars raised for their beneficiary, but they saw one of their tribute teams make history. Team College, a group swimming in honor of college friend Colin Campbell, raised $135,000 alone, which is one of the most amounts ever raised in SAA history.

A year of firsts for Swim Across America, we’re proud to say that all of our open water events made waves this summer!