When I first arrived in the Turks & Caicos Islands in 2010, I looked out over the
dazzling, ever-changing hues of turquoise water in Grace Bay (Providenciales) and
asked, “Do you guys have any open water swim races here?” When the residents
replied “no,” I suggested they get one going as the conditions were absolutely perfect.
“Sure,” Chloe Zimmermann, a long time resident said, “Why don’t you come back and
work with us to make it happen.” I didn’t need any more prodding. I quit my job in the
US and moved down full time to help start the Turks & Caicos “Race for the Conch”
Eco-SeaSwim, now set for its 10th anniversary on June 29, 2019.
The “Race for the Conch” Eco-SeaSwim is still small by other open water race
standards—typically around 120 swimmers spread among three events in the morning.
So everyone gets to know everyone else pretty quickly. The 2.4 mile race is for the
longer distance swimmers and anyone preparing for an Ironman; the 1 mile is the most
popular and the most competitive; and the 1/2 mile is for those new to the sport and
testing the waters. Along the way, the swimmers often see rays, starfish, a school of
striped sergeant major fish, and maybe even a dolphin. Take in the experience of
swimming through the clearest water you will ever see. Did I mention that the water is
For the racers looking to win or place high, we offer hand carved conch trophies for the
top three spots, male and female, in each event. Everyone, though, receives a carved
conch medal around their neck as they run up the white sand beach at the finish. Note:
We take the “Eco” part of the swim seriously—only reef safe sunscreen allowed
(available free on the beach) along with other eco-practices such as biodegradable
cups and straws.
Come join us for this beautiful GSS race whether you want to race to win a trophy or
just do your personal best in a benign and breathtaking open water swim environment.
Lots of direct flights to Providenciales (PLS) from most major east coast cities in the US
and Canada to get you here. Awards ceremony at sunset on the beach followed by
Check us out on our website, glad to answer questions and tell you more!
– Ben Stubenberg, Race Co-Director