If you’ve been following our coverage of the Global Swim Series this year, you’ll have noticed the theme seems to be busy weekends.  This weekend looks to outdo them all with a truly stacked lineup of amazing open water races.  Over the course of Saturday and Sunday there will be 3 GSS races in Canada, 2 in Northern Ireland, 1 in Ireland and 1 in the United States.  There are also crucial GSS points to be won in all corners of the globe in a weekend that will surely shakeup the overall standings.

We’re going to have a look in a little more detail at some of the action coming up.

The LOST Race

What better way to kick off a huge weekend for the GSS than with one of the founding races of the series.  We’ve already covered the LOST Race in a little more detail, but this swim in Oakville, Canada will celebrate its 10th anniversary on the weekend and is expecting some big crowds.

The traditional course is a 3.8km point-to-point through past the mansions of one of Canada’s most beautiful neighborhoods.  Last year there was also the addition of a 1.6km event as well, giving swimmers of all abilities a challenging and fun race.  There’ll be a lot of familiar names from the GSS leader board in attendance so we’re expecting this race to be pretty significant in terms of the top of the Global Rankings.

Lord & Lady of the Lake

The Lord & Lady of the Lake in Northern Ireland will kick off the Camlough Lake Water Festival this weekend which features two GSS races.  The day before there will also be a non-timed Glow night swim for swimmers looking for a unique experience of swimming at night! Leading up to the race there is also an open water water polo tournament which should be plenty of fun to watch.

The venue was even host to the GSS European Championships in 2016.  The rolling hills in the background give a very scenic view for swimmers and spectators alike (spectators have a great viewpoint from the pier lining the shoreline).

The Bay Challenge (Canada)

This is the big one.  Of the 3 GSS races taking place in the Vancouver area (all hosted by VOWSA) the Bay Challenge certainly lives up to its name.  The swim is a 9.6km across Vancouver’s English Bay.  Tides and weather within the bay can significantly increase the distance and time you are required to swim. Water temperature can vary over the course depending on the season; swimmers should expect and be prepared for temperatures between 12 °C in the channel and up to 22 °C near the finish.

Having said that, tough and adventurous swimmers have been doing this race since 1932.   Making it the oldest race in Canada, and among the oldest in the world.

Then there’s the scenery.  The swim across English Bay starts at Sandy Cove in West Vancouver and ends at Kits Beach in Vancouver.  Along the way you will pass through a shipping lane, see the Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park and the buildings of downtown Vancouver.

This is a real Canadian bucket list race and with many of the Western Canadian swimmers in the hunt among the GSS Rankings it’ll be interesting to see how the results play out.

Ottawa Riverkeeper 4km

A great race with a great cause, the Riverkeeper 4K is a unique inter-provincial swim in the Ottawa River.  The swim is done to highlight the work of the Ottawa Riverkeeper and its goal to protect the health of the Ottawa River.

Starting on the Ontario side swimmers will cross the provincial border on your way to the finish line 4 kilometres across the Ottawa River, finishing in Aylmer, Quebec.  There’s also a 1.5km course that counts for GSS points as well.

Many of the swimmers have raised significant funds for the Riverkeeper and will be rewarded with a unique chance to swim from one province to another.

Change Your Latitude 57°N Open Water Swim

Part of the fun of the Global Swim Series is seeking out races in all corners of the world, sometimes in unexpected places.  The Change Your Latitude Swim is a perfect example of that.  Taking place in Sitka, Alaska at 57°N this swim is a fantastic off the beaten path adventure.

Change Your Latitude is a combined 10k/6k/3k/1k open water swim located in beautiful Sitka Sound, Alaska.  It should come as no surprise that the water here is not exactly tropical.  But for most experienced open water swimmers and especially if you wear a wetsuit, it is quite reasonable.  The water temperatures in the high 50’s to low 60’s (13-17C).

More interestingly than the water temperature, is the water itself, which is teaming with pacific ocean life.  Swimmers have swam with salmon and the occasional sea lion, pass over clam beds and crabs. There is even a salmon BBQ after the race.  The course takes you through shallow and deep water where swimmers and kayakers will enjoy the grandeur that only an Alaska swim can offer! At 57° North latitude this race is the northern most swim taking place in North America and one of the most Northerly in the world!  This should be a great event that will give some of the most adventurous swimmers in the world a chance to earn some GSS points!

Dun Laoghaire Harbor Race

This is a true classic and one of the most prestigious open water races in the world.  The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Swim was first run in 1931 (87th year as of 2017!), which makes it the 3rd oldest continuously run race in the world.

Given the age of The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Race (pronounced Dun Leery) it is steeped with tradition.  First of all, no wetsuits.  They didn’t have them in 1931 and they don’t use them now either.  But yes, the water is a bit chilly, typically ranging from 11–14C (52–57F). The question then becomes “can you swim 2.2 km in that temperature?!”. Therein lies the challenge, and the accomplishment.

Having said that, there is a line up of people waiting for the chance. They cut off registration at 500 swimmers each year.  Overseas swimmers must prove they can swim 2.2 km in cold water (without a wetsuit, of course!) in less than 55 minutes.

Maria Murphy Championship Cup

Taking place in Camlough Lake, the site of the 2016 GSS European Championships as well as a couple other GSS events, this event is put on by organizers who know a thing or two about a great open water swim!

This fast 5km course is a 2 lap circuit of Camlough Lake where swimmers will be accompanied by boat and kayak support throughout.

The event is the finale of 2 GSS events over the course of the weekend (Lord & Lady of the Lake being the first) and a part of the Camlough Lake Water Festival which is a great event for swimmers and spectators alike.

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