Sunday, July 2, 2017

Race Schedule:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

  • 5:30-6:30 am – Check-in (Sellwood Riverfront Park)
  • 6:30 am – Pre-race meeting
  • 7:30 am – Swim Start (First Wave)
  • 11:30 am – Individual swimmers and relays who have not reached mile 6 will be stopped and transported to the Swan Island relay transfer point.
  • 2:30 pm – Awards at finish (Cathedral Park)
  • 3:30 pm – Individual swimmers and relays who have not reached the finish will be stopped and transported to the finish


Portland’s Big Pipe project has almost eliminated the risk of sewage contamination in the river. We are in regular touch with the City of Portland’s water quality monitors, to ensure that bacterial levels are at acceptably low levels. Willamette Riverkeeper and the city test bacterial results regularly and results will be discussed in the pre-race briefing. The race will not occur unless Bacterial counts are below US EPA and Oregon DEQ standards. In previous years, the highest bacterial counts have been 1/10 of those levels.

For more information, see Are You Crazy?

CANCELLATION POLICY: Swimmers who do not compete or do not finish are not eligible for refunds. If the race is canceled, it will not be rescheduled. If the swim is canceled up to 2 weeks prior to race day, 80% of entry fees will be refunded. If the swim is canceled between 2 weeks and 1 day prior to the race, 60% of entry fees will be refunded. If the swim is canceled on race day, no fees will be refunded.

What’s Your Plan for Safety?

Summary: Solo swimmers must complete a minimum 5000 yd qualifying swim in 1:30 to enter. Swimmers are required to provide and have a support kayaker in a life vest, and equipped with an additional life vest for the swimmer’s use in an emergency. Swimmers MUST wear the brightly-colored swim cap provided, have their race number on their arms, and follow all announced safety rules without exception. Safety boats will monitor the entire course and medical personnel will be on site at all exit points.

Time Limit: Swimmers who cannot complete one mile in open water in 35 minutes should NOT enter. Swimmers must reach mile 6 within 4 hours of the race start time and must complete the swim within 8 hours of the race start. Any swimmers on the course after these time limits may be stopped and listed as DNF in the results.

For more information, see Safety.

What if I don’t have a kayak?

Swimmers must provide their own kayak and escort kayaker. A limited number of kayaks are available for rent at race registration. Kayak rental, provided by our friends at Alder Creek, includes boat, paddle, and 2 life jackets. Boats will be dropped off for you to pick up at the race start. At the end of the race, leave the boat with us in Cathedral Park and Alder Creek Kayak will take it from there.

I’m coming from out of town, how can I find a local kayaker?

We have some local paddlers interested in helping out. Contact the race organizer for more information.

I really want to swim the relay but can’t con my friends into joining me. Is anybody else looking for a relay team?

Contact the race organizer and we’ll try to put you in touch with any other interested swimmers we know of.

How will we get back from the swim finish?

A shuttle van will be available to transport swimmers and kayakers back to Sellwood Park. Swimmers are responsible for transporting their own kayaks, if they were not rented from Alder Creek Kayaks.

What are the rules for the swim?

Current United States Masters Swimming rules apply. There will be a separate awards category for Category II swimwear, which includes wetsuits. Propulsive devices, such as fins & paddles, and flotation aids, such as pull-buoys, are not allowed.


Everybody’s food needs are different and you’re going to have to figure this out by trial and error. This involves your nutritional needs, how often you need to feed, and what your stomach can tolerate. What tastes fine in your kitchen may not go down or stay down as well when you’re in the middle of the river and swimming hard. Make sure you are working on this well in advance of the swim- race day is not a good time to find out that your food’s not right.


Only 3-person relays are allowed; no person may swim more than 1 leg. Each leg is 3.5 – 4 miles; the first leg is from the race start at the Sellwood Bridge (SE Tacoma St.) to the pier at OMSI (1945 SE Water Ave.). The second leg is from OMSI to a beach on Swan Island (roughly 4435 N Channel Ave.) and the final leg is from swan Island to the St. Johns Bridge (N. Philadelphia Ave.). Relay teams are responsible for their own transportation to each of the relay transfer sites. Volunteers and EMTs will be on-site to assist at both relay transfer sites.


Pick up my race packet?

Packet pickup will take place the Saturday before the race (time and location TBD) and on race day between 5:30 & 6:30 AM at the race start.

Get to the race start?

The race start is at Sellwood Riverfront Park, right at the intersection of SE Oaks Park Way and SE Spokane St.

Get to the race finish?

You have a few options: Swim, catch a ride with your relay teammates, kayak for your relay teammates, etc. The race finish is at Cathedral Park, at the end of N. Philadelphia Ave. right under the St. Johns Bridge.

Get to the relay transfer points?

The first relay transfer point is at the OMSI Pier. OMSI’s address is 1945 SE Water Ave. Parking is available in the OMSI lot on the south end of the building. The lot will be marked with a Portland Bridge Swim flag. Relay teams will receive ONE PARKING PASS ONLY for free parking. Everybody else must pay for parking.

The second relay transfer point is on a lovely beach on Swan Island, near 4435 N. Channel Ave. The parking lot will be marked with a Portland Bridge Swim flag; after parking, head to the pedestrian path along the river and follow the signs.


There are none within close walking distance but there are several within a few miles. The closest two are:

Motel 6, 3104 SE Powell

River’s Edge Hotel & Spa, 0455 SW Hamilton Court


We eat and drink and do ridiculous things. We’ve got more craft breweries than we can even begin to count, fabulous food EVERYWHERE, great art, outdoor craft markets and farmers’ markets, concerts… If you’re coming to town and you need recommendations to explore, we’re happy to send you to some of our favorite places!