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World Open Water Swimming Heritage Sites


Open Water Source is working with a variety of entities and interested individuals
to designate well-known open water swimming locations around the globe as
World Open Water Swimming Heritage Sites.

Similar to the United Nations Educational, Scientific or Cultural Organization


(UNESCO) list of World Heritage Sites (e.g., Great Barrier Reef or Shark Bay in
Australia) and a similar surfing reserve program in Australia and the World Surfing
Reserves, the designation is ceremonial at this time, but hopefully, will lead for
more concrete protection and public recognition as time passes by.

The surfing community has designed Malibu, California’s Surfrider Beach as its
first designated World Surfing Reserves site. This distinction celebrates the
famous surf break for its size, shape and cultural significance in the world of
surfing.

Similarly, Open Water Source plans to identify and help draw attention to the
following open water swimming sites as World Open Water Swimming Heritage
Sites. Additions to this initial list are being encouraged from the global open
water swimming community.

1. Absecon Island in New Jersey, U.S.A.


Significance: Over 100 years of open water swimming history including four
decades of professional marathon swimming history.

2. Acapulco Bay in Mexico


Significance: Site of popular open water swims for over 50 years.

3. Aquatic Park in San Francisco Bay, California, U.S.A.


Significance: Popular cold-water swimming location in the heart of a major
metropolitan area.

4. Bonaire in the Netherland Antilles


Significance: Site of beautiful tropical swims over pristine coral reefs.

5. Canal Canal Hoeke - Sluis in Belgium


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Significance: Site of over 100 years of open water swimming competitions.

6. Capri to Napoli in Italy


Significance: Site of decades of popular marathon swims between the island of
Capri and Napoli.

7. Cook Strait between the North and South Islands in New Zealand
Significance: Site of one of the world’s most challenging marathon swims.

8. English Channel between England and France


Significance: Site of the world’s most famous channel swim.

9. Harrington Sound in Bermuda


Significance: Site of beautiful tropical swims in Palmetto Bay.

10. Ijsselmeer in the Netherlands


Significance: Site of popular marathon swims for over four decades.

11. Island of Jersey in the English Channel


Significance: Challenging circumnavigation swim first completed in 1969.

12. Istanbul Strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara in
Turkey
Significance: Site of the Boğazıçi Kitalararasi Yarislari (Bosphorus Cross-
Continental Swim) where swimmers are able to swim between Asia and Europe.

13. Key West in Florida, U.S.A.


Significance: Site of popular marathon swims.

14. Lac St-Jean in Quebec, Canada


Significance: Five decades of successful professional marathon swimming history
with a growing popularity among younger athletes and amateurs.

15. Lac Memphremagog in Quebec, Canada

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Significance: Site of popular lake swims including decades of professional


marathon swims.

16. La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California, U.S.A.


Significance: Site of competitive open water swimming since 1916.

17. Lake Baikal in Russia


Significance: Largest natural lake in the world.

18. Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, Japan


Significance: Site of centuries of open water swimming in Japan’s largest natural
lake north of Kyoto.

19. Lake Ontario in Canada


Significance: Site of nearly 50 years of marathon swimming.

20. Lake Pingvellir, Lake National Park in Iceland


Significance: Site of cold-water swims in Iceland’s largest natural lake.

21. Lake Tahoe in Nevada and California, U.S.A.


Significance: Site of popular marathon swims and relays in a pristine high-altitude
lake.

22. Lake Willoughby in Vermont, U.S.A.


Significance: A geological aquatic marvel that is site to a growing number of open
water swims.

23. Lake Windermere in the Lake District of England


Significance: Over 100 years of open water swimming history with decades of
competitive marathon swimming.

24. Lake Zirahuen in Michoacán, Mexico


Significance: Popular training site for cold-water and channel swims.

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25. Lake Zürich in Switzerland


Significance: Site of popular competitive marathon swims.

26. Liffey River in Ireland


Significance: Site of popular community-based open water swims.

27. Maracas Bay in Trinidad & Tobago


Significance: Site of over 50 years of popular open water swimming competitions.

28. Midmar dame in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa


Significance: Site of the world’s largest competitive open water swim.

29. Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elisabeth, South Africa


Significance: Site of marine sports including open water swimming competitions.

30. North Channel between Scotland and Ireland


Significance: Considered to be the most challenging channel swim in the world.

31. Pennock Island in Alaska, U.S.A.


Significance: Led the growth of open water swimming in the State of Alaska.

32. Ria de Navia in Spain


Significance: Site of over 50 years of open water swimming competitions for
swimmers of all ages and abilities.

33. Robben Island Channel in Cape Town, South Africa


Significance: Site of popular cold-water swimming competitions and solo
marathon swims.

34. Rottnest Channel between Rottnest Island and the coast of Western
Australia
Significance: Site of a challenging and popular channel swim.

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35. Sandycove Island in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland


Significance: Training ground for open water swimmers and triathletes of all ages,
abilities and goals.

36. San Pedro Channel in California, U.S.A.


Significance: Popularly known as Catalina Channel, the 21-mile channel between
Santa Catalina Island and Southern California has been a challenge to marathon
swimmers since 1927.

37. Serpentine Lake in London, England


Significance: Site of open water swims since the 19th century and site of the 2012
London Olympics 10K Marathon Swim.

38. Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island on the Cayman Islands
Significance: Site of popular open water swims.

39. Stari Grad Bay in Croatia


Significance: Site of popular marathon swims.

40. St. Croix in U.S. Virgin Islands


Significance: Site of popular open water swims near the largest island barrier
coral reef in the Caribbean Sea.

41. Strait of Gibraltar


Significance: Site of a challenging channel swim across strong tidal flows between
Spain and Morocco.

42. Strait of Messina in Sicily, Italy


Significance: Site of popular open water swimming competitions and solo
marathon swims.

43. Waikiki Beach on Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.A.


Significance: Site of open water swims for centuries and birthplace of the swim
leg of Ironman triathlons.

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44. Maui (Auau) Channel between Ikiki Beach on Oahu, Hawaii, U.S.A.
Significance: Site of open water relay swims and open water swimming for
centuries.

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