Describe Your Event

Warning, this event was expired!

The Brogan Open Water Classic (BOWC) is held each summer at beautiful Edgewater Park, west of downtown Cleveland. The 2021 event will be held on July 17. There will be half-mile, 1-mile and 2-mile races. Join us on Facebook for information and updates.

At this time, we are moving forward with plans for the 2021 Brogan Open Water Classic. We can expect some COVID-19 restrictions and those will become clearer as we get closer to the event. Restrictions may include mandatory masks, social distancing, and limited group sizes. We will work hard to make sure your experience at the 2021 Brogan Open Water Classic is safe and enjoyable.

Thank You!

We appreciate the financial support of swimmers from the Great Lakes Zone of U.S. Masters Swimming, including the following LMSCs: Allegheny Mountain, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Lake Erie, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. You contribution helps us to promote open water swimming in the Great Lakes Zone.

How to Enter

Entries open on April 15, 2021. You may enter the Brogan Open Water Classic using the online entry form (preferred). Entries will be limited to 300 participants. Online entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EDT, July 10, 2020. You may also enter the event using the paper entry form. Paper entries must be received via mail by July 9, 2020. Non-USMS members must also fill out a One-Event Entry Form. There will be no race-day entries. Entry fees are non-refundable.

The Course

There will be half-mile, 1-mile and 2-mile races swimming concurrently on a diamond-shaped course in Lake Erie. The start will be in the water. The finish will be on the beach. Swimmers will swim in a clockwise direction around the course. 

The course map for the race can be found here: Brogan Open Water Classic Course.


The Brogan Open Water Classic will be held at Edgewater Beach in the Cleveland Metroparks, two miles west of downtown Cleveland. Take Ohio Route 2 (Cleveland Memorial Shoreway) to exit for W. 73rd St. Head north toward the lake, around the circle, following the signs for Edgewater Beach. Check-in will be in front of the Edgewater Beach House (see map).

Time Limit

A 90-minute time limit will be in effect for all swimmers. 90 minutes begins at the start of the last 2-mile wave.


Swimmers who are not participating in the race, as well as families and friends, are welcome to volunteer to help run the event. If you are interested, please sign-up to volunteer here. Your assistance makes all the difference! All volunteers will receive an event t-shirt and be well fed after the race.


The Brogan Open Water Classic is sanctioned by the Lake Erie LMSC for U.S. Masters Swimming, Inc. (USMS Sanction #181-W001). Please familiarize yourself with the USMS rules for the event (PDF): USMS Open Water and Long Distance Swimming Rules.

Mandatory Safety Meeting

Participants are required to attend the pre-race safety meeting. Attendance will be taken and participants who do not attend will not be allowed to swim in the event. The Safety Plan will be emailed to all participants prior to the event. You can also download the Safety Plan (updated 1/31/21).


All swimmers must check in on race day.

  • A picture ID is required at check-in.
  • USMS registration or OEVT registration must be complete.
  • All fees must be paid.

Swimmers will receive their event tee shirt, event swim cap, wave card and timing chip at check-in.


Multiple waves will start 4 minutes apart. Waves will be seeded according to 1-mile entry time. The number and makeup of waves will be determined by the Event Director. Wave information will be emailed to swimmers prior to race day.


Competitors may warm up in Lake Erie prior to the race. Warm up may only take place if two (2) lifeguards are on duty. Warm up will be available from 7:00 to 7:30 a.m. on race day.

Wetsuits and Water Temperature

The Brogan Open Water Classic is a USMS sanctioned event and governed by USMS rules. This includes the restrictions concerning water temperature and wetsuit use.

  • Non-Wetsuit (USMS Cat I): Swimwear shall include only a swimsuit, cap or caps (including those made of neoprene when the water temperature is not greater than 78 degrees Fahrenheit), and goggles. Swim caps shall be defined as head gear conforming to a traditional swim cap design and shall not extend to protect the neck and shoulders. Nose clips, ear plugs, and wristwatches are also allowed. The swimmer shall wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces. All swimsuits shall be made from textile materials and not contain clasps or zippers. For both men and women, the swimsuit shall not cover the neck and shall not extend past the shoulder nor below the ankles.
  • Wetsuit (USMS Cat II): Swimwear that does not meet the requirements for category I swimwear shall be considered category II swimwear. Swimwear may include a swimsuit or wetsuit, cap or caps, goggles, armbands, and rash guards. Nose clips, ear plugs, wristwatches, and grease are also allowed.

More information on conforming swimwear is available in section 303.4 of the USMS Open Water and Long Distance Swimming Rules.

USMS rules state that “wetsuits or any other heat-retaining swimwear may be allowed at the discretion of the event director when the water temperature does not exceed 78 degrees Fahrenheit…” This 78 degree limit will be enforced. No wetsuits will be permitted if the lake water temperature is above 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the water will be provided regularly on the event Facebook page, starting two weeks before race. Historically, the water temperature on race day has been between 72 and 78 degrees. You may switch between wetsuit and non-wetsuit at check-in.

We will post water temperature from Edgewater Park on our Facebook page in the days leading up to the race.

Water Quality

Water quality reports for Lake Erie beaches can be found here. Reports are updated on a daily basis during open water swim season.

Timing Chips

Race will be chip timed. The timing chip will be strapped to the swimmer’s ankle. Swimmers will enter and exit the water by crossing the timing mat. Please do not walk near the mats wearing your chip, unless you are participating in the race and entering or exiting the lake with your Wave, or your chip may inadvertently be registered in the timing system.

At the Start

When you come to the starting area you must have:

  • Your wave card.
  • Your race number written on your arm (or cap if wearing a sleeved wetsuit).
  • The timing chip you received at check-in strapped to your ankle.
  • The swim cap you received at check-in.

Please start with your proper wave to ensure a correct finish time.

Swimmers with Disabilities

If you have a disability that needs our attention, please notify us prior to the event so we can prepare for your needs.


The Brogan Open Water Classic supports the Malachi Center’s Urban Kids Swim Camp (Tax ID # 34-1506478). We are “big swimmers helping little swimmers.” If you would like to make a donation or collect donations from friends, please use this form. There will also be a box for “gently used” swim equipment, new goggles, towels, etc. onsite during race day.


Awards will be available as soon as results are posted. The first six places in each age group (wetsuit and non-wetsuit) will receive awards. You must be present (or have someone there to pick up) to receive your award.

 Swimmers who complete their event will receive a finisher’s award.

Post-Race Social

O*H*I*O Masters will provide food and drinks for all swimmers and volunteers following the race.

Event History

Marianne and Doug Brogan attended the 1989 Aquatic Convention in Portland, Oregon, and came away with the idea that O*H*I*O Masters Swim Club could host an open water event in Lake Erie.

The inaugural event was held in 1990 at Edgewater Beach in Cleveland, which has remained the event location for the last 30 years. The event was known as the Lake Erie Open Water Classic.


Marianne and Doug served as the event directors in 1990 and 1991. In 1992, Maureen Koss served as director. With Doug Brogan assisting, they ran the event until 1999. Doug then served as the event director the next three years. Todd Urban took the reins in 2005. Tom Spence took over in 2006 and ran the event for the next nine years. He was also instrumental in the event co-hosting the International Gay Games in 2014. Beth Katterle served as the event director from 2015 through 2017. Chuck Beatty is the current event director.


In 1992, Julio Aponte and Maureen Koss were serving on the area Arthritis Foundation Board and suggested we use the event to raise money for charity. Since then, the event has donated thousands of dollars to the following charities: Arthritis Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, Northern Ohio Breast Cancer Coalition Fund, and the Malachi Center Urban Kids’ Swim Camp, our current charity.

The O*H*I*O Masters event has hosted a USMS Open Water National Championship event several times: 1 Mile (1994 and 2006), 2 Mile (1999 and 2002). Most recently, we co-hosted the International Gay Games in 2014.


Marianne Brogan led a life that was focused on healthy living and an active lifestyle. Giving back to the community was an important tenet of her life, as shown by her participation in raising funds for charities that focused on the needs of children.

Her swimming career included membership with O*H*I*O Masters for over forty years. She served on many committees, including the fitness committee for USMS where she was awarded the Fitness Committee Award at the National Convention. Her swimming accomplishments included 10 individual USMS National Championships and 5th place in the 5,000-meter swim at the World Championships.

Marianne passed away on August 18, 2016. That year, to honor Marianne and her husband, Doug, and to recognize their contribution to open water swimming in Lake Erie, the name of the event was changed to the Brogan Open Water Classic.


North America

Distances Offered

under 1k





Swim Type


Water Type