Open Water Virtual Grand Slam

open water virtual grand slam

Mark Johnston created the Open Water Virtual Grand Slam, a multi-month catalyst and online social group that kickstarted hundreds of swimmers to join the growing global community of open water swimmers.

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About

In the midst of a near global lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Johnston from Flathead Lake in the state of Montana knew that he needed to do something positive and uplifting. So the race director and marathon swimmer created the Open Water Virtual Grand Slam, a multi-month catalyst and online social group that kickstarted hundreds of swimmers to join the growing global community of open water swimmers.

Why it was nominated

For organizing four competitive distances in the open water (800m, 1500m, 1.93 km and 3.96 km), for providing a low-cost means to participate and compete in something new and something fun and inspirational, and for rapidly developing and nurturing additional challenges like The Beast, an 128 km, 120-day virtual perimeter swim in Flathead Lake,

Country

United States

Type of Offering

Event

The Creator(s)

Mark Johnston

184

1349
  • Sophia

    Sophia

    01/03/2021

    This was a lifesaver event this summer – a goal to strive towards, a challenge I could do with friends, and had me swimming my longest distance ever! Mark was so good at encouraging, supporting, helping and communicating with participants. Plus, we got swag!! Thanks Mark.

    • Mark Johnston

      Mark Johnston

      01/03/2021

      Thanks, Sophia! The social aspect of this event couldn’t have come at a better time.

  • Joanne Menard

    Joanne Menard

    01/03/2021

    I love open water racing. At a time when it seemed like the whole world was shutting down, the Virtual Grand Slam races presented a positive escape pathway for open water swimmers. Thanks for these opportunities Mark.

    • Mark Johnston

      Mark Johnston

      01/03/2021

      These virtual events have been fun to put together. THANKS, Joanne!

  • Martyn Webster

    Martyn Webster

    01/03/2021

    Great event at the right time. Got many swimmers back swimming and encouraged pool swimmer into open water. A real morale booster for many. Congratulations Mark!

    • Mark Johnston

      Mark Johnston

      01/03/2021

      Thanks, Martyn! I would have preferred your IRL visit last April, but this kept up swimming!

  • Tennille

    Tennille

    01/03/2021

    This event not only got me swimming when all the pools closed, but I discovered a love
    For open water swimming I had never even considered. The community of swimmers are spectacular. Regardless of physical location we had a tribe of like minded individuals to get us through the toughest of times. I’m beyond grateful!!

    • Mark Johnston

      Mark Johnston

      01/03/2021

      These virtual events have been pretty fun, Tennille, and I appreciate your support!

  • Terry Carter

    Terry Carter

    01/03/2021

    I turned 70 during 2020 at a time when Covid-19 had taken hold around the World. Not being able to travel from South Australia to visit my 94 year old Mum in the UK and Swim in the BEST Fest Open Water Swimming Festival on the way was a hard pill to swallow. Then Mark Johnson’s Open Water Virtual Grand Slam was launched. It was a life saver for me, giving me something to focus on. I had no idea I would met such great open swimmers on line. The Community spirit which this Event generated from all around the World on FB was FANTASTIC. A truly inspirational, World Class Events which was lots of fun to participate in. 10 Stars for Mark Johnston!

  • Cammie Hunt

    Cammie Hunt

    01/04/2021

    This event was a game changer for me. It got me into the open water a bit earlier than usual, and got me swimming a lot longer per session. This year I may even try a 5k or 10k swim! My confidence in open water has really skyrocketed!

  • Jaimie

    Jaimie

    01/04/2021

    Such a great program and community, great to see the updates – thank you Mark!

  • Jennifer Phalen

    Jennifer Phalen

    01/04/2021

    Awesome event ran or I should say swam by an awesome man!

  • 01/04/2021

    Thanks Mark,
    You have helped me get through 2020! Kept me motivated and happy swimming. I was able to swim in different lakes around Montana on camping trips with a wetsuit and without. I am excited about the next adventure CONQUERING THE BEAST, the 80-mile circumnavigation of Flathead Lake following the Flathead Lake Marine Trail which will complete the Triple Crown.
    The swimming community that you created was amazing!

  • Peggy Stringer

    Peggy Stringer

    01/04/2021

    Thanks Mark,
    You have helped me get through 2020! Kept me motivated and happy swimming. I was able to swim in different lakes around Montana on camping trips with a wetsuit and without. I am excited about the next adventure CONQUERING THE BEAST, the 80-mile circumnavigation of Flathead Lake following the Flathead Lake Marine Trail which will complete the Triple Crown.
    The swimming community that you created was amazing!

  • Lex

    Lex

    01/05/2021

    Thanks Mark. The virtual grand slam helped me get through 2020. Kept me swimming + motivated + happy.