Preparing for Your First Swim with Odyssey Open Water Swimming

Alcatraz Swim Odyssey Open Water Swimming

Are you ready for your first swim with Odyssey Open Water Swimming?

If yes, view our available events here to get started!

If the answer is no, that’s okay! We’re a friendly, supportive community of athletes and swimming enthusiasts here to help you conquer the open water. Whether you’re looking for a new hobby, find an additional exercise to add to your routine or improve your triathlon times, Odyssey welcomes you with open arms.

Before diving into our preparation recommendations, here are some helpful links and resources to provide you additional information on open water swimming and Odyssey Open Water Swimming:

●     The basics of open water swimming

●     The history of swimming from Alcatraz

●     Odyssey Open Water Swimming FAQs

●     About Odyssey Open Water Swimming

●     Sign up for a swim here

What’s Provided from Odyssey Open Water Swimming?

Odyssey Open Water has organized hundreds of open water swims over the years and is prepared to make sure you have an amazing first experience.

At our weekly Berkeley swims, Odyssey plans each course and uses buoys to guide swimmers through a predetermined route. A GoPro camera will be available to take a #buoyselfie, which will be shared on our social media pages. Your swim guide will explain your route before the swim begins. We also provide ample kayak support, swim coaching, and emergency help on standby just in case assistance is needed. For big events, Odyssey also coordinates the timing of the swim with local authorities to ensure a safe swim.

If you need to stop and rest or exit the water, our team will quickly assist you in doing so.

During larger events, including Alcatraz swims, Bridge to Bridge, TransBay, and the Splash & Dash, you will receive an Odyssey swim cap, packet of information sent the week of the event, and if necessary, a boat ride out to the drop-off spot. The packet will include safety and route information, recommendations, contact information, location details, and more. Make sure to keep a close eye on your email during the week before your swim. Times may change slightly due to weather conditions, which we track carefully leading up to each swim.

Unless you are an experienced open water swimmer and have already conquered the Bay, we recommend joining us on several weekly Berkeley swims to increase your comfort in the open water before signing up for Alcatraz or another challenging Odyssey event.

What We Recommend Bringing During Your First Odyssey Open Water Swim

You should feel comfortable while swimming in the open water. We recommend that you bring the following:

●     Swimsuit/Wetsuit

●     Goggles

●     Brightly colored swim cap (or buy one from us for $4)

●     Towel

●     Warm clothes, food, and water for afterward if the water is cold

●     Earplugs

Wetsuits are not required, but when the weather drops in the low 60s or 50s, we highly recommend them. Since the water temperature is colder during Alcatraz, Bridge to Bridge, and TransBay swims, you should strongly consider wearing one during these events, unless you are comfortable at those temperatures. If you choose to wear a wetsuit but aren't ready to buy one, you can rent them at Sports Basement for $25 a week or $50 a month.

Bringing Friends with You on Your First Odyssey Swim

We want you to have the most memorable experience with Odyssey Open Water Swimming. Depending on the event, you may be able to bring your friends along to support you on the beach where you’ll return, on the boat to the drop-off spot, or in the water as a kayaker or paddleboarder (if they have experience). Boat space for spectators is limited, so please let us know as soon as possible if space is needed for a friend or family member to come along.

Tips from the Odyssey Community

We regularly highlight our swimmers in pictures and blog posts, and ask them for their advice for fellow swimmers. Read more here:

·         Swimmer Profile: Meet Johanna Staples-Ager and Joel Ager

·         Meet Angela Stockard: Odyssey Open Water Swimmer Profile

·         11 Tips for First-Time Alcatraz Swimmers

·         Meet Sunil Shah: Odyssey Swimmer Profile

·         Meet Spencer Baum: Odyssey Open Water Swimmer Profile

Have questions? Contact us today!