Pre-Race

The Beach-to-Beach Power Swim will be swum as four simultaneous events:

  • Short Course for solo swimmers only from Maho Beach to Cinnamon Beach (1 mile)
  • Intermediate Course for solo swimmers only from Maho Beach to Trunk Beach (2.25 miles)
  • Long Course for solo swimmers from Maho Beach to Hawksnest Beach (3.5 miles)
  • Long Course for 3-person relay teams from Maho Beach to Hawksnest Beach (3.5 miles).  The relay team transition points will be at Cinnamon Beach and Trunk Beach.

In each of the events, swimmers may compete using snorkels, fins, and/or exposure suits in a separate category of “assisted” swimmers. If any member of a relay team is “assisted” the entire team is considered “assisted”. Please note: a) using goggles or a mask is not considered ‘assisted’; b) swim paddles or webbed swim gloves are not permitted.

Registration will be limited to 350 swimmers and there will be no registration on the day of the event. Registration will close at 4:00pm May 28th at the pre-race meeting, or when the 350 limit has been reached. Prospective participants are encouraged to register as early as possible and certainly before making travel arrangements.

A Pre-race Meeting will be held at 3:00 pm on Saturday, May 25th in the Pavilion at Trunk Bay. All competitors are strongly urged to attend this pre-race meeting where the course and the rules will be covered in detail. A short briefing will also be held on the beach at 7:30am, just before the start of the race at 8:00am.

This course presents several navigational challenges so it is vital that competitors review the course description carefully as well as study the map of the course. Although the course is marked, it is the responsibility of every swimmer to know the course. Please review the course description and maps IN DETAIL prior to race day.

All swimmers, including all members of each relay team, must be checked in at the recorder’s table at Maho Beach and marked with race numbers by 7:30am.

Bags will be provided for personal gear, which will be transported, to Cinnamon, Trunk or Hawksnest beaches as necessary.

Leg 2 and Leg 3 relay swimmers will be transported to Cinnamon and Trunk Beaches respectively; and finishers of the Short Course, Intermediate Course, Leg 1 of the Relay and Leg 2 of the Relay will be transported to Hawksnest Beach.


During the Race

This is an open water swim course. Each entrant is responsible for his or her own safety and knowledge of the course.

The race will begin at approximately 8:00am on the beach at the dinghy channel at the northern end of Maho Beach.

All swimmers must wear the provided swim cap and they may use either goggles or a mask.

Slower swimmers should place themselves at the rear of the pack at the start. Please be considerate of other swimmers, especially at the start and around the first buoy.

Buoys will be placed specifically for this event. These are: 30" orange triangular buoys, 48" orange can buoys, and larger 5' orange yacht racing buoys to demarcate the course. Swimmers should disregard the USCG or NPS permanent buoys (white cylindrical boat exclusion buoys, white or blue boat mooring buoys, etc). Swimmers should note that these buoys are hard and their up-lines are likely to have barnacles and other marine growth that can cause abrasions or other injuries and swimmers should avoid contact with them.

Wherever there is a single orange buoy (of any size), this navigation aid must be kept to the swimmers left side. See course map and course description for more details.

Wherever two orange buoys (of any size) are in close proximity, they should be considered a gate and swimmers must swim between them and then turn to the right.

Paddlers on kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) will accompany swimmers to provide floatation devices and other assistance to swimmers in distress. Safety support boats, with St. John Rescue personnel, and Park Service patrol boats will back up the paddlers to provide emergency assistance if necessary.

If you need assistance, remove your swim cap and wave it in the air to catch the attention of the nearest paddler. If you can, proceed towards the paddler; otherwise wait for the paddler to come to you. Note that once you hold on to a kayak, SUP, buoy or safety boat, you are out of competition. The paddler will provide the distressed swimmer with a floatation device and will signal the support boat to come and pick up the swimmer.

Paddlers may also provide navigational assistance at any potentially confusing or hazardous point and will attempt to control nearby boat traffic crossing the course. However, swimmers should be aware of their surroundings and any motorized or sailboat traffic around them at all times.

Water / aid stations (small boats staffed with volunteers) will be stationed just past the gates at Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay respectively. Water bottles will be tossed to swimmers requesting them. Do not touch or hang onto the boat and please toss the bottle (and the cap) back in the boat. Do not touch or hold on to the water station boats.

The finish line for the short course and the intermediate course will be on the beach at Cinnamon Beach and Trunk Beach respectively. Swimmers will exit the water in the finishing chute and cross the finish line under the bright yellow banner on shore. Remember: your race and time end when you exit the water and cross the finish line, not when you stop swimming.

The transition points for the relay swimmers will be on the beach at Cinnamon Bay (Leg 1 / Leg 2) and Trunk Bay (Leg 2 / Leg 3) respectively. Incoming relay swimmers should exit the water in the finishing chute and proceed to the relay tagging area, where the next relay swimmer will be stationed and an exchange (tag their next swimmer) will be made.  [Transportation will be provided to Hawksnest Beach for short and intermediate course swimmers and Leg 1 and Leg 2 relay swimmers.]

The finish line for the long course will be on the beach at Hawksnest Beach. Please note that the finish line is a bright yellow banner about midway along the entire length of the beach and NOT at the far left hand side of the beach, i.e. not at Oppenheimer. Exit the water between the orange flags and into the finishing chute and cross the finish line. Remember: your race and time end when you exit the water and cross the finish line, not when you stop swimming.

There is a three-hour limit on the race. Any swimmers who have not entered Hawksnest Bay at that time may be asked to board a support boat at that time.


After the Race

Complimentary drinks, fruit and snacks will be available for competitors at Hawksnest Beach.

An awards ceremony will be held at approximately 12:00 at Trunk Bay during a lunch and Beach Party to be held between 11 am and 2 pm. All competitors and spectators as well as the general public are encouraged to attend. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Transport will be provided between Hawksnest and Trunk Bay.

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Race Navigation & Safety

Buoys will be placed specifically for this event. These are: 30" orange triangular buoys and 48" orange can buoys to demarcate the course. Swimmers should disregard the USCG or NPS permanent buoys (white cylindrical boat exclusion buoys, white or blue boat mooring buoys, etc). Swimmers should note that these buoys are hard and they and their up-lines are likely to have barnacles and other marine growth that can cause abrasions or other injuries and swimmers should avoid contact with them.

Wherever there is a single orange buoy (of any size), this navigation aid must be kept to the swimmers left side. See course map and course description for more details.

Wherever two orange buoys (of any size) are in close proximity, they should be considered a gate and swimmers must swim between them and then turn to the right. The only gate for the short and long course is the Start/Finish Gate just off the beach.

The finish line will be on the beach near where the race started. Swimmers will exit the water in the finishing chute and cross the finish line under the bright yellow banner on shore. Remember: your race and time end when you exit the water and cross the finish line, not when you stop swimming.

 

SPECIAL NAVIGATION NOTES: 

This course presents several navigational challenges, so it is vital that competitors review this course description carefully as well as study the map of the course. Although the course is marked, it is the responsibility of every swimmer to know the course. This course description may be periodically updated so competitors should check this site often. The final course description and instructions will be given at the pre-race meeting and will take precedence over the information provided here or from any other source. However, it is CRITICAL that all swimmers are familiar with the course in advance of race day.

  • Buoys will be placed specifically for this event. These are: 30” orange triangular buoys, and 48" orange can buoys.
  • Swimmers should disregard the USCG or NPS permanent buoys (white cylindrical boat exclusion buoys, white or blue boat mooring buoys, etc). Swimmers should note that these buoys are hard and the buoys themselves as well as their up-lines are likely to have barnacles and other marine growth that can cause abrasions or other injuries and swimmers should avoid contact with them. However, the large, yellow navigational buoys around Johnson’s Reef will aid in navigation of the long course.
  • Swimmers should always keep the single buoys (of any size) on their left.
  • When two buoys are near each other they are to be considered “gates”. Swimmers must always swim between these paired buoys, ie, through the gates, and turn right. The only gate in this race is the Start/Finish Gate, just off the beach.
  • Any swimmer who deviates from the course (e.g. misses a gate or cuts a buoy) will be redirected by a paddler or disqualified from the official race finish. 


RACE SAFETY:

Paddlers on kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) will be on the course  to provide floatation devices and other assistance to swimmers in distress. Safety support boats, with St. John Rescue personnel, and Park Service patrol boats will back up the paddlers to provide emergency assistance if necessary.

If you need assistance, remove your swim cap and wave it in the air to catch the attention of the nearest paddler. If you can, proceed towards the paddler; otherwise wait for the paddler to come to you. Note that once you hold on to a kayak, SUP, buoy or safety boat, you are out of competition. The paddler will provide the distressed swimmer with a floatation device and will signal the support boat to come and pick up the swimmer.

Paddlers may also provide navigational assistance at any potentially confusing or hazardous points and will attempt to control nearby boat traffic crossing the course. However, swimmers should be aware of their surroundings and any motorized or sailboat traffic around them at all times.

SPECIAL SAFETY NOTES:

  • This is an open water swim course. Each swimmer is responsible for his or her own safety and knowledge of the course. Please review these notes and maps IN DETAIL prior to race day.
  • Much of the race will be swum over coral reefs. Swimmers should keep to a depth of at least four (4) feet over the reefs. Do not touch or stand on any coral.
  • Due to the narrowness of the channel between Trunk Cay and the shoreline, this section can be subject to surge and other rough conditions. Swimmers should exercise caution in this area.
  • The long course will be conducted partially in open waters and could be subject to challenging and potentially hazardous conditions. Swimmers should expect, and be prepared for, windy and choppy conditions.  When rounding Johnson’s Reef swimmers should stay well seaward of the large yellow navigational buoys and any shallow corals.
  • Kayaks/Stand-up Paddlers (SUPs) will be on the course to provide floatation devices and other assistance to swimmers in distress. Safety support boats, with St. John Rescue personnel, and Park Service patrol boats will back up the paddlers to provide emergency assistance if necessary. If you need assistance, remove your swim cap and wave it in the air to catch the attention of the nearest paddler. If you can, proceed towards the kayak/SUP; otherwise wait for the kayak/SUP to come to you. Note that once you hold on to a kayak, SUP, buoy or safety boat, you are out of competition.
  • Paddlers may provide navigational assistance at any potentially confusing or hazardous point and will attempt to control nearby boat traffic crossing the course. However, swimmers are responsible for their navigation. Also, swimmers should be aware of their surroundings and any motorized or sailboat traffic around them at all times.

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