Football has FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). Pool swimming has FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation). Volleyball has FIVB (Fédération Internationale de Volleyball). These global organizations were established to bring uniformity, promotion and governance to their respective sports.

What does open water swimming have?

Frankly, it is an expansive alphabet soup.

There are dozens of open water swimming governing bodies, an intriguing collection of governing bodies, organizations, committees, associations, federations and groups with common goals and missions to support, promote, manage, monitor, register, sanction, certify and oversee local, regional, national and international rough water swims, long-distance swims, marathon swims, ultra-marathon swims, extreme swims and cold water swims around the world.

These open water swimming associations are responsible for events, races, clinics, competitions, relays, stage swims, exhibitions and camps in oceans, lakes, bays, rivers, estuaries, canals, channels and seas.

Below is a growing list of governing bodies, but it does not include the hundreds of national membership associations such as Swimming Canada, Australian Swimming, British Swimming, South Africa Swimming, USA Swimming, U.S. Masters Swimming or any of their local swim committees:

1. ACNEGAsociación Cruce A Nado Del Estrecho De Gibraltar (Strait of Gibraltar)
2. AKOWSAssociation of Korea Open Water Swimming (사단법인 한국바다수영협회)
3. AOWSAlaska Open Water Series (Alaska, USA)
4. ASUAAmateur Swimming Union of the Americas
5. ASAAmerican Swimming Association
6. AOWSArab Open Water Swimming Championship
7. ABGAsian Beach Games
8. AOWCAustria Open Water Cup
9. BLDSABritish Long Distance Swimming Association
10. CIASACayman Islands Amateur Swimming Association
11. CPDSACape Long Distance Swimming Association (South Africa)
12. CCSF: Catalina Channel Swimming Federation
13. CSAChannel Swimming Association (English Channel)
14. CS&PFChannel Swimming & Piloting Federation (English Channel)
15. CIBBOWSConey Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers (New York, USA)
16. CSMSCook Strait Marathon Swimming (New Zealand)
17. Croatian Long Distance Swimming FederationCroatian Long Distance Swimming Federation
18. CSCulture Sport (Spain)
19. Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club of San Francisco (California, USA)
20. DOWSSADubai Open Water Swimming Sports Association (United Arab Emirates)
21. END-WetExtreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test (North Dakota, USA)
22. FISFFarallon Islands Swimming Federation (California, USA)
23.FINAFédération Internationale de Natation (202 member associations)
24. GLOWSGreat Lakes Open Water Swimming Series (USA)
25. Gambia Swimming and Aquatic Sports Association (Gambia, Africa)
26. HCSAHawaiian Channel Swim Association
27. HSDPHrvatski Savez Daljinskog Plivanja (Czech Republic)
28. IISAInternational Ice Swimming Association
29. IMSHOFInternational Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
30. IOWSA: International Open Water Swimming Association
31. ILDSAIrish Long Distance Swimming Association
32. JIOWSAJapan International Open Water Swimming Association (Japan)
33. Jersey Long Distance Swim Club (Jersey, Channel Islands)
34. L Street Brownies Club (Boston, USA)
35. LENLigue Européenne de Natation (European Union)
36. L.O.S.T.Lake Ontario Swim Team (Canada)
37. LOCOGLondon Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (London, England)
38. LTSALake Tahoe Swimming Association (California, USA)
39. LTSSLake Tahoe Swimming Society (California, USA)
40. MCSAMenorca Channel Swimming Association (Balearic islands, Spain)
41. NEMSANew England Marathon Swimming Association (Massachusetts, USA)
42. NYC Swim (New York, USA)
43. NEKOWSANortheast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association (Vermont, USA)
44. RCSARottnest Channel Swim Association (Western Australia)
45. SBCSASanta Barbara Channel Swimming Association (California, USA)
46. SSOSolo Swims of Ontario
47. SOSpecial Olympics (170 countries)
48. SOWSAStage Open Water Swimming Association
49. TOWSATownsville Open Water Swimming Association (Australia)
50. Traversata dello StrettoTraversata dello Stretto (Sicily, Italy)
51. UANAUnión Americana de Natación
52. USOWSAUnited States Open Water Swimming Association
53. VOWSAVancouver Open Water Swimming Association (Canada)
54. WOWSAWorld Open Water Swimming Association
55. WPMSFWorld Professional Marathon Swimming Federation

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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Quick Registration Links:
The 100-Meter Swim | The 800-Meter Swim | The 1.5K Swim | The 5K Swim | The 10K Swim


North side beach at Marine Stadium in Long Beach starting at 9:00 AM

  • 100-meter newcomer swim
  • 800-meter swim (½ loop of the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim course)
  • 1 loop of the Olympic Triathlon swim course (1.5 kilometers)
  • 3 loops of the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim course (5 kilometers)
  • 6 loops of the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim course (10 kilometers)


Register for the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference in Long Beach, CA.

Join us from Friday, September 21 thru Sunday, September 23 at Marine Stadium!

Open Water Swimming Race Calendar
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Aerial Coverage for Open Water Swimming

2012 Open Water Swimming Media Guide