NYC SWIM

About » F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

A mile is 1760 yards (1609 meters); why is the NYC Swim qualification standard 1650 yards (1500 m.)?
Are fins, snorkels, and other swim aids allowed?
Are the swims with the current or against the current?
Are wetsuits allowed?
Can I hire a boat or paddle a kayak and follow the Manhattan Island Swim on the water?
Can I listen to my MP3 player, waterproof radio, or tempo trainer while I'm swimming in the event?
Do you ever accept swimmers younger than the required age?
Error Message - Email already exists in DB
Forgot your Account's Password
How can I apply for a Battle of the Bridge team in the Brooklyn Bridge Swim?
How can I use my swim as a fundraiser?
How can we enroll as a relay team for MIMS, the Manhattan Island Relays, or the Ederle Swim?
How do I apply?
How do I create or update the bio in my profile?
How do I upload my pool certification?
How much does it cost?
I am hoping to enter one of your marathon swim events. Who can I recruit to be my crew?
I am unable to log in even though I know my ID and password. Help!
I'm a collegiate swimmer with lots of experience; can I have the qualifying swim requirement waived?
I'm doing my first NYC Swim event. What do I need to know?
I'm new to open water swimming. Do you have any tips for me?
I'm not American & have never swum in the US. Can I qualify using a swim race in another country?
Is the water safe for swimming?
Is there a medical requirement for NYC Swim events?
Is there anyway to receive photos from past swim events?
Should I wear a wetsuit?
Steps to Enter Planned Events (Non-NYC Swim Events) to the User Profile
Steps to Upload Non-NYC Swim Results to the User Profile
Under what conditions would NYC Swim cancel a race?
What are Direct Transaction Expenses and how do they affect my charitable donation?
What are the qualifications to race?
What happens to my personal belongings once I get in the water?
What is Swim Free?
What time does the tide change?
What type of results can I list in my profile and use to qualify for an NYC Swim event?
What will the water be like?
Where are the best viewing spots for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim?
Where can I do my pool certification swim?
Why don't I have a green check by my entry?
I’m interested in the 2013 Statue of Liberty Swim. Where can I find details? What are the qualificat
I’m interested in the 2014 Statue of Liberty Swim. Where can I find details? What are the qualificat
Why is the pool certification time requirement for Liberty Island faster than for other races?
Would you cancel a race due to water quality concerns?
How do I add a photo headshot to my profile?
How do I upload a photo to my profile?

A mile is 1760 yards (1609 meters); why is the NYC Swim qualification standard 1650 yards (1500 m.)?

It's true that a statute mile is 1760 yards (1609 meters); however, the NYC Swim qualification standard is based on the competitive pool "mile" event, which is 1650 yards (1500 meters).

Are fins, snorkels, and other swim aids allowed?

Fins, snorkels and other swim aids (including, but not limited to, items such as swim paddles, gloves, kick boards, flotation devices, etc.) are not allowed in any of the NYC Swim swim events or races.

Are the swims with the current or against the current?

Most of our swims are timed to have a tidal assist, but weather conditions could diminish or offset that. If you are interested in the tide information, please see this page for details.

Are wetsuits allowed?

We take a very simple approach by instituting some very basic swimsuit eligibility rules. Like baseball with the wooden bat, we favor very basic bathing suit designs in lieu of new fabrics and technologies. This has many benefits, including ensuring that proper swim attire is affordable to all economic strata and available at nearly every sporting goods store, and upholding designs and styles used back in the 1920s when open water swimming was in its heyday.

For the Manhattan Swim and the Ederle Swim: All swimming costumes for solo swimmers, 2-person relays, 3-person Team Pursuit teamsn, and NYC Traditional relays must be made of a porous material and conform to the "traditional" swimming suit style. These events do not allow attire that increases buoyancy or heat retention, including wetsuits, neoprene caps, or neoprene socks. Caps shall be defined as headgear conforming to traditional swim cap design and not extending to protect the neck or shoulders. Please consult the Race Rules on the {5} Policies and Ederle Policies pages for additional details on permitted swimwear.

For the Manhattan Swim NYC Catch'em Relay Teams: Teams may compete in either a wetsuit or a non-wetsuit division. Non-traditional suits, including wetsuits and jammers, are allowed for swimmers on NYC Catch'em Relay Teams competing in the wetsuit division. Teams will be classified as participating in the wetsuit division if one or more swimmers wear non-traditional swim attire during the race.

For the Swim Series: When the water temperature is 68°F (20°C) or higher, only swimmers wearing traditional-style swim suits will be eligible for awards. A traditional-style swim suit is one that is made of a porous material, is sleeveless, and is legless. Women may wear suits that come up to their necks, with the zipper up the back. Men may not wear jammers (since they are not legless) or suits that cover their torsos. Any suit that extends to the thighs or shoulders, reduces drag in the water, increases buoyancy, or improves heat-retention is considered non-traditional. Suits in the non-traditional category (which means they affect award eligibility) include jammers of any type; Speedo LZR Racer, Speedo Aquablade, Speedo FS II, Speedo Fastskin, TYR Aqua Shift, TYR Aquapel, TYR Fusion2, Nike Liftsuit, blue seventy zeropoint3, and suits with similar materials. When the water temperature is below 68°F, all swimmers will be eligible for awards, regardless of whether they wear a traditional swim suit or wetsuit.

For the Aquathlon: Non-traditional suits, including skinsuits, speedsuits and jammers, are allowed for the Aquathlon provided they conform to USAT standards for approved swimwear. When the water temperature is 78°F (25.56°C) or higher, swimmers wearing wetsuits will not be eligible for awards.

For each swim, an official announcement regarding temperature and award eligibility will be made on the website and in a final email to participants no later than two days before the event.

Can I hire a boat or paddle a kayak and follow the Manhattan Island Swim on the water?

For safety reasons, vessels on the course are limited to those assigned by NYC Swim. For the Manhattan swim, the race will have nearly 120 water craft under its management (each participant (swimmer and/or relay) is assigned a motorized boat and up to two paddlers); as such, the rivers get very congested since the race must share the waterways with the regular operators (such as ferries, cruise ships, barges and freighters). Our boats have very specific roles and responsibilities. They create safety zones around the swimmers, and only vessels associated with the event are permitted within the zone. Those boats follow a set chain of command on the water to protect the participants and the integrity of the race. If a participant has a non-sanctioned boat on the course, the participant will immediately be disqualified and removed from the race, and the non-authorized boat will be “introduced” to the New York City Police Harbor Patrol, for further processing.

Can I listen to my MP3 player, waterproof radio, or tempo trainer while I'm swimming in the event?

No, headphones and other audio devices are not allowed.

Do you ever accept swimmers younger than the required age?

Generally, we stick to the posted age requirements. However, in specific cases we are willing to make exceptions. For most of the shorter swim series events, we will consider requests to allow younger participants provided the parents or guardians complete a permission form and the swimmer has a swim history and training base appropriate for the event. For the Liberty Island Swim, we require additionally that a parent or other adult agreed upon by the parents practice in open water with the younger swimmer and escort him or her during the event. (If the escort is faster than the young swimmer, the escort would have to adjust pace accordingly, and vice versa.) Once a swimmer has an established history of successful swims with us, they may be able to move up to the longer-distance swims. Please contact info@nycswim.org with specific questions.

Error Message - Email already exists in DB

The NYC Swim system allows an email address to be used ONLY once. Two users may NOT share the same email address. This policy helps prevents unauthorized, third party access to a User’s personal information and communications. We recommend that each NYC Swim website User establish his/her own PRIVATE email address (Gmail, AOL and Yahoo are possible options).

Forgot your Account's Password

User accounts are created either by the user OR the NYC Swim system, when a Manhattan Island swimmer/participant designates his/her swim support “crew” members. A user may request his/her account’s password by clicking here. Once User complete’s the form, the NYC Swim system will send by email the password on file to the User’s email address.

How can I apply for a Battle of the Bridge team in the Brooklyn Bridge Swim?

Battle of the Bridge The battle has been expanded so that swimmers from all boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens or the Bronx) or “outer boroughs” (if you favor Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey or Westchester) will automatically be scored for their designated or “adopted” borough. Swimmers with the 10 fastest times for each “borough” will be scored to determine which “borough” will win the Battle of the Bridge Trophy. If you didn't select your favorite borough at the time you enrolled in the swim, you can follow these steps do this now:

Login to your NYC Swim user profile
Click the "Overview" tab
Go to the "Personal Information" section
Use the "Favorite Borough" drop down menu to select your borough

How can I use my swim as a fundraiser?

NYC Swim’s swim events are excellent opportunities for individuals and companies to raise funds for their preferred charity. Participants may fund-raise for one non-NYC Swim charity per event, and all donations must be processed, tracked and publicized via NYC Swim’s web site.

The NYC Swim Preferred Charities are a select group of charities whose missions align with goals we support and who receive a percentage of donations on behalf of swimmers fundraising at NYC Swim events. In 2010 NYC Swim introduced Swim Free™, a charity dedicated to the health improvement of children and adults through swim, as its first Preferred Charity. Swim Free™ with its well-respected, independent board and staff and activities that include learn-to-swim, water safety and enjoyment, water cleanliness, and overcoming fear of the water, such as is addressed in its Swim Free™ Swim Angel program initiative, it was the perfect match for NYC Swim. Donations made through our website are currently received by Swim Free™. The organization issues donor receipts and ensures that third-party charities receive the appropriate payouts at the end of the season. If your organization is interested in being an NYC Swim Preferred Charity, please contact us.

For the swim series events and the Ederle Swim, fundraising is completely voluntary.

Participants may choose to fundraise for one of NYC Swim Preferred Charities only or to include a charity of their choice. In that instance, proceeds are split 50/50 between NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™) and the selected charity and will be disbursed by NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™) after fundraising is complete.

Donations received via the NYC Swim website go directly to the NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™), which will issue receipts. A fundraising minimum of $150 or 5 donations over the course of season is required in order to qualify for a payout to a third-party charity. While there is no administrative charge for processing donations, those made by credit card are subject to deduction of credit card transaction fees (Direct Transaction Expenses). Donations will be split with third-party charities after (Direct Transaction Expenses) have been deducted. Checks are not subject to transaction expenses and may be sent directly to the NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™).

For the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and the Manhattan Island Relays, there are two classes of fundraising: voluntary and obligatory.

Voluntary fundraisers apply and are accepted through the open enrollment process and may choose to fundraise for one of NYC Swim Preferred Charities only or include a charity of their choice. In that instance, proceeds are split 50/50 between NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™) and the selected charity and will be disbursed by NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™) after fundraising is complete.

Donations received via the NYC Swim website go directly to the NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™), which will issue receipts. A fundraising minimum of $150 or 5 donations is required in order to qualify for a payout to a third-party charity. While there is no administrative charge for processing donations, those made by credit card are subject to deduction of credit card transaction fees (Direct Transaction Expenses). Donations will be split with third-party charities after (Direct Transaction Expenses) have been deducted. Checks are not subject to transaction expenses and may be sent directly to the NYC Swim Preferred Charities (Swim Free™).

Obligatory fundraisers apply and are accepted for one of the relay slots reserved for fundraisers and have minimum fundraising requirements and distribution arrangements. The full {8} {5} policy can be found here and the 2012 Manhattan Island Relays policy here.

All fundraisers (voluntary and obligatory) may enter a charity at the time of enrollment or e-mail info@nycswim.org to add a charity to an existing enrollment.

Violations of this policy may prevent the swimmer from participating in {5} and other NYC Swim events.

How can we enroll as a relay team for MIMS, the Manhattan Island Relays, or the Ederle Swim?

Relay enrollment requires the involvement of all participants in the relay — captain, swimmers, and alternate(s), if any. To start the relay team's enrollment, the team's captain must first log in and select the relay size/type, enter a relay name, complete selected required fields, designate the relay's participants and tentative swim order, designate the relay's alternate(s) if appropriate, and enter a credit card number. We recommend that the captain use each swimmer's e-mail address when adding them to the enrollment; that way, there is no chance of selecting someone else with the same name or the wrong user account.

Once the team has been created, all members — swimmers (including the captain if he/she is swimming) and alternate(s) — will need to complete their individual swim enrollments by clicking on the "Enroll as a Swimmer" link on the swim event page, selecting the appropriate type of relay team, reviewing/completing the information in their user profiles, answering any additional questions, and agreeing to the waiver. The team’s enrollment will be evaluated once the individual enrollments of all relay members are complete.

How do I apply?

Applications for each swim and aquathlon in the summer series are available online at www.nycswim.org. Registration remains open until 3 days prior to the event unless the maximum number of participants allowed has already been reached.

How do I create or update the bio in my profile?

Adding a bio to your profile is a good way to share your background with others in the swim community.

Login to your account
Within the "Overview" tab, scroll down to "User Bio"
Add text or make changes to existing text
Click "Save"
You will most likely need to use some html characters to get the text to display properly on your public profile page.
To start a new paragraph, type the command <p>. At the end of the paragraph, type </p>.
To italicize text: <i>Example</i>
To bold text: <b>Example</b>
To insert a link, type it this way: <a href="http://yourlinkhere">with the text that you want to have clickable on the screen here</a>

How do I upload my pool certification?

The pool certificate template can be found here. You may complete your pool swim at any suitable pool as long as the lifeguard is willing to monitor your swim and sign the pool certification form.

Once you have completed your qualifying pool swim and filled in the form, you can upload it by clicking "Add new pool certificate" from within the "Swimmer" section of your user profile (PDF files only) or fax it to 212-784-6850. Please note that the pool certification for events is generally due two weeks in advance or, if you are enrolling closer to the swim date, within 24 hours of your enrollment.

How much does it cost?

Please check the Overview tab of the event page for the event you are interested in.

I am hoping to enter one of your marathon swim events. Who can I recruit to be my crew?

Please refer to the race specifications for how many crew members you may have aboard the escort boat – either one or two people. Beyond that, the choice of crew is completely up to you. Keep in mind, however, that your well-being will be the primary concern of your crew. If you have concerns about their ability to remain focused on you and perform their duties under potentially adverse conditions (i.e., bad weather, small boat, no on-board bathroom), you may wish to reconsider your choice of crew. Good candidates include coaches, past event participants, officials, swim teammates, lifelong friends, distant relatives, and athletes experienced in ultra-distance events. Close relatives (including spouses/partners, parents, and children), business colleagues, individuals with weak bladders, and individuals who get seasick may not be able to keep the proper balance of support and objectivity in order to best fulfill the crew role.

I am unable to log in even though I know my ID and password. Help!

If you are experiencing difficulty logging in, here are some possible solutions:

  1. Try logging in from a different computer.
  2. Try logging in from a different browser on the same computer.
  3. Try clearing the cookies and cache out of your browser before logging in.
  4. Log in from swimnyc.org from the same computer.

I'm a collegiate swimmer with lots of experience; can I have the qualifying swim requirement waived?

For both safety and liability reasons, we are unable to waive the qualification requirements for any prospective swimmer. In addition, we use the swim time information to place swimmers in an appropriate starting wave.

If you have completed an NYC Swim event of appropriate distance within the past three years, your participation may automatically qualify you for the race that you would like to enter. If you have non-NYC Swim open water swim experience, you can enter the information under your user profile (click on the “My Events” tab, page down to the “Swim History (Non-NYC Swim Events)” section, click on “Add Non-NYC Swim Event”) and it will be reviewed to ensure that it meets the standards set for the race that you would like to enter. You may also qualify for a swim by completing a monitored pool swim as detailed in the race requirements section. (Log in to your swimmer profile, click on the “Swimmer” tab to see the requirements for the different races as well as to access the pool certificate template.)

I'm doing my first NYC Swim event. What do I need to know?

You're in for a treat! Here are some pre-event guidelines to help you make your first (or twenty-first!) race the best experience possible.

Before the day of the swim:
  • Complete your swim enrollment and submit your qualifying swim information by the appropriate deadline.
  • Check the "Status" and "Notes" columns on the "Swimmer" tab of your event to ensure that your entry is approved.
  • Be on the lookout for a detailed pre-race email the week of your event.

  • The day of the swim:
  • If inclement weather is expected, check the NYC Swim website for up-to-date information on the status of the event.
  • Allow ample time to arrive at race check-in/start. If you’re using public transportation, remember that weekend disruptions to subway service are possible and check www.mta.info for service advisories that may affect your trip. Keep in mind that you may have to walk anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes to get from your car or subway/bus stop to swimmer check-in.

  • At swimmer check-in:
  • Show your photo ID.
  • Let the check-in volunteers know whether you will be wearing traditional or nontraditional swimwear for the event.
  • Pick up your timing chip and race swim cap, and get numbered.
  • Drop off your personal belongings at the baggage area.

  • Before getting into the water:
  • Listen to the race director's pre-race briefing with final course instructions. Failure to stay on the course can lead to disqualification, so this is an important part of your pre-swim preparation.
  • Line up as directed (usually in number order), and be prepared to enter the water quickly.
  • Be sure your timing chip is securely fastened!

  • In the water:
  • Depending on the race, swimmers may start either as one large group (200+ swimmers) or in waves of smaller groups. (Be sure to attend the pre-race briefing to get accurate information on the type of start to expect.)

  • At the finish:
  • Cooperate with the volunteers who will remove and collect your timing chip.
  • Hose off after exiting the water.
  • Visit our hospitality tent for refreshments and to pick up your race goody bag.
  • Retrieve your personal belongings from the bag check.
  • Stick around to applaud the award winners at the awards ceremony. Enjoy your post-race glow and have fun with your fellow swimmers and volunteers.

  • I'm new to open water swimming. Do you have any tips for me?

    We polled the readers of our newsletter Cross Currents and came up with these tips:

    Training
  • Try to do some open water swimming before the date of your event.
  • If possible, do some training swims that are longer than your event to give you confidence in your ability to finish.
  • Get used to some incidental contact by swimming three or four abreast in your pool lane (depends on the width of your lanes). This will also help you develop a narrow stroke, which is useful in those tight situations.

  • General Tips/Pre-race Preparation
  • Beware of chafing, which is far more likely to occur in saltwater (as at NYC Swim races) than in fresh water. Practice at the beach to find out where your chafe points are and then lube up before any swim of a half-hour or longer. Common chafe points include under the arms, the back of the neck (at the cap/hair line), and under suit straps.
  • Get a good nights sleep two nights before the event. That way if you are nervous and don't sleep well the night before, you will still feel rested.
  • Know the course. A number of our participants say that they walk part or all of the swim course a few days before the race to scope out landmarks that they can use during the swim to gauge distance.
  • Place your goggles on under your cap. If someone inadvertently hits your head and your goggles get loosened, you won't lose them in the water.
  • Try some earplugs, which can help prevent swimmers' ear.
  • Be prepared for conditions to play a big role — sometimes in your favor, sometimes not, and sometimes canceling the event entirely. That's the nature of open water swimming.

  • In the Water
  • Be honest about your race pace and start accordingly. If you must sprint at the start, settle into your race pace as soon as you can.
  • Be aware of the swimmers around you — especially at the start of the race, when it tends to be crowded. Some swimmers suggest swimming with your head up for the first 25-50 yards; others start at the outer edges or the back of the field in order to avoid the initial thrashing.
  • Sight periodically to stay on course.
  • In rough water, widen your stroke entry point to provide more stability.
  • Remember to breathe out. When excited or under stress, people often begin to breathe in a shallow manner, which is counterproductive in swimming.
  • Enjoy the scenery, when time allows.

  • Post-Race
  • Don't pass up the opportunity to rinse off afterward — you'll feel much better.
  • Get some refreshments and strike up some conversations with your fellow finishers. The snack will help you refuel and talking with the other swimmers is a great way to get feedback for your next foray into open water.
  • I'm not American & have never swum in the US. Can I qualify using a swim race in another country?

    Yes, we accept the results of open water swims done anywhere in the world as long as they meet the qualification standard (date and distance completed) for the event that you would like to enroll in, as specified in the Experience Requirement section on the event Overview page. Please see http://nycswim.org/About/FAQ.aspx#37 for instructions on uploading your qualifying result to your user profile.

    Is the water safe for swimming?

    Absolutely! The waters are swimmable over 95% of the days of the year, and it takes an extreme and unusual circumstance for us to be forced to a cancel race.

    New York's waters have improved a great deal since the Clean Water Act was imposed in 1975. New York City has been testing the waters for nearly 120 years, and the waters today are the cleanest they've been in 110 years. Ever since the infamous 1987 Syringe Tide in New Jersey, where significant amounts of medical waste and raw garbage washed up onto a 50-mile (80-km) stretch of Jersey Shore beaches, New York and New Jersey have aggressively spent billions of dollars to treat and clean the areas waterways and remove floatables.

    The most marked improvement in water quality has come in the past 10 years. Millions swim at city beaches each year, and thousands participate in events such as ours as well as popular triathlons that use the Hudson.

    Swimming may become unsafe and there are water quality concerns after significant and extended rain events. In that case, swimmers would be advised that the water quality is compromised so they can decide whether to participate. In extremely rare cases, we may postpone or cancel the event.

    Is there a medical requirement for NYC Swim events?

    Most swims do not require any shots or a medical exam. We recommend that all swimmers have up-to-date tetanus shots, and that they be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. Our marathon swims – the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim and the Ederle Swim – require solo swimmers, two-person relays, and three-person Team Pursuit teams to submit a medical form completed by their doctor. The medical form is not necessary for any other swim, though we recommend that you check with your doctor before trying any new athletic endeavor.

    Is there anyway to receive photos from past swim events?

    We have an online photo gallery. These photos are copyrighted and permission must be obtained before use.

    Should I wear a wetsuit?

    Whether or not to wear a wetsuit is up to you. Since wetsuits are quite different than traditional swimsuits, it is a good idea to take a practice swim (such as in a pool) while wearing the suit to help ensure you know how it feels. Taking a practice swim in water of a similar temperature to what you might experience on race day might also help you make a decision. Please be sure to read our Swim Attire and Wetsuit Policy.

    Steps to Enter Planned Events (Non-NYC Swim Events) to the User Profile

    Login to your account
    Click on "My Events"
    Scroll down to "Planned Events (Non-NYC Swim Events)"
    Click on "Add planned event"
    Enter the name of the event that you plan to participate in.

    If the event’s name is in our database, it will appear in the pop up box for you to select (this may take a few seconds to load).

  • Click the "Submit" button if you see the name of your event.
  • Next you will be prompted through drop-down windows to select the year, date, and distance of the event.
  • If your event is already in our database, you will be prompted to add your swim time and swim placement.
  • If you do not see the event’s name, date, or distance listed within the appropriate drop-down box, then select the "Add new" box at any stage of the process and complete the required fields to add your event to your profile.

    Steps to Upload Non-NYC Swim Results to the User Profile

    Login to your account
    Click on "My Events"
    Scroll down to "Swim History (Non-NYCSWIM Events)"
    Click on "Add non-nycswim event"
    Enter the name of the event that you participated in and have a finishing result for.

    If the event’s name is in our database, it will appear in the pop up box for you to select (this may take a few seconds to load).
  • Click the "Submit" button if you see the name of your event.
  • Next you will be prompted through drop-down windows to select the year, date, and distance of the event.
  • If your event is already in our database, you will be prompted to add your swim time and swim placement.
  • If you do not see the event’s name, date, or distance listed within the appropriate drop-down box, then select the "Add new" box at any stage of the process and complete the required fields to add your event and finishing result to your profile.

    Certain events may be included in your self-reported user bio but cannot be used to satisfy experience requirements for NYC Swim events. These include events without publicly posted results, triathlons with pool swims rather than open water swims, and relay triathlons where the results do not specify which participant completed the swim leg. Please see What type of results can I list in my profile and use to qualify for an NYC Swim event? for more details.

    Under what conditions would NYC Swim cancel a race?

    NYC Swim always endeavors to hold events as scheduled and rarely issues cancellations in advance. However, because our events are tide-specific, and require the cooperation of many shore-side and on-water agencies, certain conditions must be met in order for us to proceed as planned.


  • We must have support boats and kayaks on hand to ensure swimmer safety. If visibility conditions on the water in the hours preceding the scheduled start of the race are poor, or if conditions for the return after the event are forecast to be very poor, our boaters and paddlers may not be able to get to the event, and we may be forced to cancel the swim.
  • If conditions at the time of the race are so rough that swimmers, paddlers and boaters will not be safe in the water, we will not proceed with the swim.
  • If conditions at the time of the race are borderline, we may allow only the fastest swimmers to start.
  • For swims with different start and finish locations, we must ensure that our support vehicles can get from one location to the other.
  • We must feel confident that the water quality is high enough for us to allow swimmers to enter the water. If we receive a considerable amount of rain, or if there is a power outage causing the sewage-treatment system to be turned off, water quality may become an issue. See Would you cancel a race due to water quality concerns? for additional information.
  • Lightning at the time of the swim will result in a delay, which if substantial may lead to cancellation.

  • It is most likely that any decision to cancel will be made on site, so we encourage swimmers to show up on time and be prepared to swim. If an event is canceled in advance, information will be posted on our home page as soon as it is available. For more information, please see our Cancellation Policy.

    What are Direct Transaction Expenses and how do they affect my charitable donation?

    Direct Transaction Expenses are the fees levied by the credit card processor, online credit card authorization (payment gateway) and credit card companies each time an online credit card charge is made. The fees are variable based on the volume of charges processed by the payment gateway, the credit card processor, the type of credit card used, etc.

    Direct Transaction Expenses related to charitable donations made through the NYC Swim website are deducted from the donation by NYC Swim's Preferred Charity partner (which receives the dollars directly) prior to the payout to the swimmer's charity. Thus, NYC Swim's Preferred Charity partner and the swimmer's charity share equally the net dollars raised after the Direct Transaction Expenses are calculated. Please note that these fees do not affect the tax deductible amount of a donation.

    The following are examples of the expected fee ranges for various donation levels:

    For a $25 donation, the typical allocation is $1.26 to $1.88 or 5.05% to 7.52% of the donation
    For a $50 donation, the typical allocation is $2.06 to $3.29 or 4.11% to 6.58% of the donation
    For a $75 donation, the typical allocation is $2.85 to $4.70 or 3.80% to 6.27% of the donation
    For a $100 donation, the typical allocation is $3.64 to $6.11 or 3.64% to 6.11% of the donation

    Itemized detail on how the fees are levied:

    The online credit card authorizer (payment gateway) charges fees for transactions, batches, and the gateway. Depending on the volume of charges, the fees can vary between slightly over $0.15 per transaction up to $15.30. Most charges should average around $0.30.

    Fees for a typical charge on American Express
    3.25% percent per Discount Fee
    0.03% percent Fees and Incentive Fee
    $0.15 authorization fee (charged by the processor)
    For a $50 donation, the fees would be $1.80 (does not include gateway fee)

    Fees for a typical charge on a basic MasterCard/Visa
    3.00% percent per Discount Fee.
    0.17% percent Fees and Incentive Fee
    $0.17 authorization fee (charged by the processor)
    For a $50 donation, the fees would be $1.76 (does not include gateway fee)

    Fees for a typical charge on an Affinity MasterCard/Visa (Cards that are issued via retailers, airlines frequent flyer programs, alumni associations, etc.)
    5.34% percent per Discount Fee.
    0.30% percent Fees and Incentive Fee
    $0.17 authorization fee (charged by the processor)
    For a $50 donation, the fees would be $2.99 (does not include gateway fee)

    Additional fees could also include Cross Border Fees, International Fees, Failed Authorizations, Monthly Statement, Customer Service and Statement Charges.

    What are the qualifications to race?

    All applicants must fill out an extensive application detailing their swimming and personal background.

    For the Manhattan Swim: Applicants must complete a qualifying swim in a prescribed water temperature and include recent workouts and their training plan. They must also write an essay about why they want to participate; a medical exam is required as well. For additional information on qualifications for solo swimmer and relay applicants, check the MIMS web page.

    For the Ederle Swim: Applicants must complete a qualifying swim and include recent workouts and their training plan. They must also write an essay about why they want to participate; a medical exam is required as well. For additional information on qualifications for solo swimmer and relay applicants, check the Ederle web page.

    For Swim Series: Applicants must meet the swim standards determined for the event. Check the race you are interested in the "Experience Requirement" section on the event Overview page. There is no medical requirement for swim series events, though it is always a good idea to check with your doctor before embarking on a new fitness plan.

    What happens to my personal belongings once I get in the water?

    At swimmer check-in, you may also check a bag of personal belongings to be transported to race finish for you. You should bring an inexpensive bag and leave your valuables at home. NYC Swim is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

    What is Swim Free?

    Since its inception, NYC Swim has been committed to promoting and expanding public learn-to-swim programs, as well as raising awareness of New York’s rivers and waterways by supporting efforts to protect and improve them. However, the growing popularity of the events and the work involved in producing them gradually overwhelmed the operation and growth of the charitable arm of our organization. Then came Swim Free™.

    Swim Free is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of children and adults through swim, and its goals and activities are closely aligned to those traditionally carried out by NYC Swim. Swim Free is completely separate from NYC Swim, with its own board of directors and staff, and has the advantage of being able to fundraise not only through NYC Swim events, but also through other prestigious events like the New York City Triathlon. As NYC Swim's preferred charity since the 2010 season, Swim Free™ receives a portion of the money donated on behalf of swimmers who use their NYC Swim events as fundraising opportunities.

    What time does the tide change?

    If only there was an easy answer to that one! NYC Swim races are scheduled with tidal conditions in mind, which is one reason why start times and race dates shift from year to year. However, while general tidal conditions are largely predictable, there are many variables at play to keep our open water swimming interesting.

    The times listed in annually published tide charts are based on past observations and the forces of gravity between the moon, earth, and the sun, which play a large role in determining the movement of water in oceans, estuaries, bays, and other tidal bodies of water. Winds, recent rainfall, and barometric pressure also make a difference, as does water depth and distance from shore at a specific location. At one point upstate in 2010 for an extended period, the tide was off over 30 minutes from the predictions. In other words, just like the weather, the tide is not fully predictable.

    On race day, NYC Swim’s race organizers will wait or even rush to start a race based on the actual tide speeds reported by the GPS speed readings provided by the boat captains from multiple locations along the race course. Invariably, these start times will rarely correspond to the layman read of the tide charts and will vary from year to year and event to event.

    Take a look at NOAA's site to begin to learn more about this, and take it with a dose of saltwater if anyone ever tells you they know exactly when the tide is going to change.

    What type of results can I list in my profile and use to qualify for an NYC Swim event?

    For many NYC Swim events, entrants may use recent open water competition results to fulfill the experience requirement. Not only do past results attest to a swimmer's ability to swim a comparable distance, but they also provides information that can be used for placing the swimmer in an appropriate starting wave, where he or she will be swimming alongside others of similar speed.

    To provide the best indicator of open water ability and a solid basis for comparison with other swimmers, results must be posted publicly and ideally come from events that list all finishers in overall order, without regard to award categories, wetsuits, gender, start waves, or affiliation (i.e., USMS or open). For NYC Swim events that require a specific finish percentage (i.e., top 50%), this refers to overall placement except where swim aids (e.g., flippers and snorkels) have been used.

  • For all non-NYC Swim competitions (other than English Channel-type crossings), NYC Swim requires complete event results for qualification purposes. Oftentimes, these are already in our system; if not, the user must provide a link to the event's website and the either a link to the event's results or the complete results file. [Steps to Upload Non-NYC Swim Events to the User Profile] If the documentation does not exist or the entrant's performance cannot be verified, then the result will be posted in the self-reported user bio but will not be considered for qualification purposes. It is the entrant's responsibility to obtain the documentation to support qualifications; NYC Swim does not contact other race directors on behalf of its registrants. If it proves too difficult for the entrant to ascertain the appropriate result documentation, then entrant should consider going to their local pool to get certified. [Where to do a pool certification swim] [How to Upload Pool Certification]
  • For triathlons, the results must include entrant's swim splits and overall swim rankings to be used for qualification purposes; otherwise, the result will be posted in the self-reported user bio only. Triathlons that have pool rather than open water swims, or where the swim leg is not the first part of the event, may not be used for qualification purposes. (Those will pool swims can be posted in the self-reported user bio only.) Swims done as part of a triathlon relay are eligible provided there is clear documentation of which team member completed the swim leg, in which case the swim will be evaluated in the context of other individual participants and the swim ranking determined relative to the rest of the field. Otherwise, the relay result will be posted in the self-reported user bio but will not be considered for qualification purposes.
  • Non-competition results such as channel crossings must be certified by an independent organizing authority (i.e., English Channel Association) to be posted publicly. Otherwise, they will be considered as observed swims and will be posted in the self-reported user bio. This type of result may be considered for qualification purposes on a case-by-case basis upon request and is usually posted for entrants in NYC Swim's marathon events, i.e., the Manhattan and Ederle Swims.
  • NYC Swim will no longer accept results and times from the following events for qualifying purposes:
    NYC Triathlon (for NYC Swim events after 1/1/2013)
    English Channel certified by Channel Swimming Association "CSA" (for NYC Swim events after 1/1/2013)
    Rose Pitnof Swim organized by Urban Swim (for NYC Swim events after 1/1/2011)
  • Again, please note that it is your responsibility to provide this information in the proper form. NYC Swim is happy to with uploading your information but is not responsible for tracking down qualifications or contacting coaches or race directors.

    What will the water be like?

    The water temperature will probably be in the mid 60's during June, the beginning of July and September, but in the 70's during the end of July and August. There can be a substantial amount of chop in the water from wind and tide action. The waterways are saltwater and there is shipping traffic. There may be random jetsam and flotsam in the waterways.

    Where are the best viewing spots for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim?

    We're often asked where spectators should go in order to get a great view of the race. Just about anywere on the waterfront between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm on race day could net some good opportunities to see your favorite swimmers. Best bets are at South Cove and Battery Park at the start; the Upper East Side at about 9:00 am; anywhere along the Harlem River throughout the mid morning; and back at the World Financial Center starting around 2:00 pm.

    Some local favorites:

  • The Battery to the Manhattan Bridge
  • East River between 18th and 34th Streets
  • Roosevelt Island
  • Along the Harlem River up to the second bridge
  • Yankee Stadium Parking Lot in the Bronx
  • Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx
  • Railroad bridge at the entrance to the Hudson River at the north end of Dyckman Fields
  • Little Red Lighthouse/GWB
  • Trump Pier
  • 70th Street Pier in Riverside Park South
  • Christopher Street/End of Pier 40
  • Where can I do my pool certification swim?

    For many NYC Swim events, a certified pool swim is one of the options for qualifying. Not only does the pool swim attest to a swimmer’s ability to swim a comparable distance, but it also provides information that can be used for placing the swimmer in an appropriate starting wave, where he or she will be swimming alongside others of similar speed.

    To provide the best indicator of open water ability and a solid basis for comparison with other swimmers’ pool times, the pool swim should ideally be done in a deep-water, competition-length pool (i.e., 25 yards, 25 meters, 50 yards, or 50 meters). Any pool that meets these criteria is acceptable, as long as the lifeguard is willing to monitor your swim and sign the pool certification form; a list of public and private pools in New York City is available on our website for your reference.

    Try to avoid pools that are under 20 yards long and shallow, and pools that are not staffed by lifeguards used to monitoring swim training and competition. For example, an irregularly shaped pool at an apartment complex that is intended for recreational use would not be the appropriate place to do a qualifying pool swim. Swims completed in “Endless pools” are not allowed for qualification purposes either.

    Reebok Sports Club/NY and Sports Club/LA Upper East Side are the preferred health and fitness sponsor of the 2013 NYC Swim Series.

    Reebok Sports Club/NY is offering its 4-lane, 25-yard pool to all 2013 NYC Swim registrants seeking a pool qualification for either a 1) $15 pool-only pass or 2) a $35 club-wide day pass. Reebok Sports Club/NY's 140,000 square-foot-club is home to 6 floors of state-of-the-art equipment, up to 30 daily fitness classes, and breathtaking mind body (yoga) studios.

    Both the $15 and $35 passes are for one-day only access, and this form is required for entry. For more information visit Reebok Sports Club/NY's website click here or call 212-501-1438.

    The Reebok Sports Club/NY is located in Manhattan on the Upper West Side at 160 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023.

    If you have any questions about the pool where you intend to do your certification swim, please contact info@nycswim.org.

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    Why don't I have a green check by my entry?

    If your name has a green check Approved by it in the swimmer listing, you are all set for your upcoming swim. If not, mouse over the icon(s) in the "Notes" column to find out what's missing, or read on for the translation.

    Please upload your picture to your User Profile Please add a photo to your user profile. If you do not have any photos uploaded into your profile:

    Login to your account
    Click the "Add Photo" link under the box showing "no photo available"
    Click "Browse" button to select a file from your computer (JPG format, maximum size 500Kb/800x800)
    Click "Save" button
    If you already have photos uploaded in your profile and wish to select one as your headshot, follow these four easy steps:
    Login to your account
    Click the "Photos" tab
    Choose one of the pictures and click the "Make this my headshot" link for that photo
    Confirm that you want to make this your headshot by clicking the "OK" button when prompted
    Must submit Qualifying Swim Information Please submit qualifying information. Take a look at the "Experience Requirements" section of the event's Overview page to see what's needed and how to upload the information. E-mail info@nycswim.org if you need any help with this or have a question about why your entry is not approved.

    I’m interested in the 2013 Statue of Liberty Swim. Where can I find details? What are the qualificat

    The Statue of Liberty Swim is tentatively scheduled for Friday, August 16, 2013, and enrollment will most likely open in mid-December 2012. You may enroll prior to submitting your qualifications. Qualification info (either previous open water competition results—U.S. or non-U.S.—or a certified pool swim) must be approved at least two weeks before the event. Please visit http://nycswim.org/Event/Event.aspx?Event_ID={63} for more information on the 2013 Statue of Liberty Swim.

    I’m interested in the 2014 Statue of Liberty Swim. Where can I find details? What are the qualificat

    The Statue of Liberty Swim is tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 6, 2014, and enrollment will most likely open in mid-December 2013. You may enroll prior to submitting your qualifications. Qualification info (either previous open water competition results—U.S. or non-U.S.—or a certified pool swim) must be approved at least two weeks before the event. Please visit http://www.nycswim.org/Event/Event.aspx?event_id=2404 for more information on the 2014 Statue of Liberty Swim.

    Why is the pool certification time requirement for Liberty Island faster than for other races?

    The pool certification requirement reflects the challenging nature of the Liberty Island Swim course, which is generally more difficult than other events of a similar distance due to the reverse "current" part of the way around the island. Since swimmers will be swimming around the island, they will receive tidal assist when they swim in one direction but will have to swim against the same current (which may be building or become increasingly difficult) going in the opposite direction. To make progress against the current, swimmers are required to have a requisite amount of speed (which is reflected in the event requirements) otherwise they may swim in place or go backwards even while putting forth maximum effort. Accordingly, swimmers in this event need to be faster swimmers than those in NYC Swim’s other events in order to complete the course.

    Would you cancel a race due to water quality concerns?

    If water quality is an issue, swimmers would be advised on site so they can decide whether to participate. After a severe storm, such as one involving torrential downpours over an extended period of time whereby water quality in an entire region is compromised, in most cases we will not permit swimmers to go in the water. An indication of such a situation would be the closure of many local beaches, as the water quality at various locations is interdependent. If an event is canceled in advance, information will be posted on our home page as soon as it is available.

    When an event is not cancelled but the New York Harbor’s water quality has been compromised, NYC Swim will inform swimmers of this issue and leave it up to them to decide whether they still wish to participate. Swimming in water that is compromised increases the chances of developing a bacterial infection, and it would be our recommendation that swimmers begin a course of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin immediately after the swim.

    How do I add a photo headshot to my profile?

    Adding a headshot to your profile is relatively simple. If you do not have any photos uploaded into your profile:

    1. Login to your account
    2. Click the "Add Photo" link under the box showing "no photo available"
    3. Click "Browse" button to select a file from your computer (JPG format, maximum size 500Kb/800x800; if your file is larger than this, you can reduce it using an online editor such as Pixlr or contact info@nycswim.org for assistance)
    4. Click "Save" button
    If you already have photos uploaded in your profile and wish to select one as your headshot, follow these four easy steps:
    1. Login to your account
    2. Click the "Photos" tab
    3. Choose one of the pictures and click the "Make this my headshot" link for that photo
    4. Confirm that you want to make this your headshot by clicking the "OK" button when prompted

    How do I upload a photo to my profile?

    Follow these eight steps to upload a photo to your profile:

  • Login to your account
  • Click the "Photos" tab
  • Click the "Add more photos" link
  • Click "Add Photo" button
  • Click "Browse" button to select a file from your computer
  • Click "Add" button; once the screen refreshes, click "Done"
  • Enter a description
  • Click "Save" button
  • If you wish to just add a headshot to appear as your bio/user profile photo, see How do I add a photo headshot to my profile?