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The Long Bridge Swim is the Northwest’s Premier open water swimming event!  A beautiful 1.76 mile swim from the south end of Sandpoint’s historic Long Bridge to the North end.  Founded by local swimming enthusiast Eric Ridgway in 1995, the Long Bridge Swim has grown from the first group of 78 friends swimming across Lake Pend O’Reille to 722 swimmers in 2016.  The Long Bridge Swim is always held the first Saturday in August.  Spectators can easily watch their swimmers progress as they make their way across Lake Pend O’Reille.

Since 2010, the Long Bridge Swim has raised funds to support swim lessons for children and adults in the greater Sandpoint Area.  We want everyone to be able to safely enjoy our beautiful Lake Pend O’Reille!


Safety is the number one concern of the Long Bridge Swim. Participants should be comfortable in the water and know how to swim. No flotation devices such as kick boards, life preservers (personal flotation devices), “floaties”, “noodles”, etc., are permitted. Swimmers are encouraged to consider wearing a wetsuit, especially young children and smaller and/or older adults who may have more difficulty regulating their body temperatures over a prolonged period of time in 60 to 70 degree water.


The Long Bridge Swim has a multi-layered safety system, designed to monitor swimmers’ progress and assist those who are too tired or cold to complete the Swim. Each year over 90 safety kayakers paddle the course alongside the swimmers, most on the east side of the swimmers and the balance under the pedestrian Long Bridge to prevent swimmers from crossing under the Bridge. Additionally, volunteer spotters are positioned on the Pedestrian Long Bridge to monitor swimmers’ progress.

If a swimmer becomes too tired or cold to complete the Swim or has a medical emergency or other problem, the safety kayaker nearest the swimmer will offer aid, most often in the form of giving the swimmer a tow a short distance to a personal water craft (jet ski) that will then take the swimmer to a power boat to be transported to Dog Beach. There the swimmer may receive medical attention at the medical tent or transported to Bonner General Hospital in an emergency.


Since the first year of the Swim in 1995, no swimmer (or spectator) has been seriously injured or suffered any life-threatening condition as a result of participation in the Long Bridge Swim. Our goal is to maintain this record of safety. To accomplish this, the Long Bridge Swim needs the support of participants and spectators. Please help us keep the Swim safe (and therefore fun) by adhering to the following rules. All swimmers must:

  1. Register for the Swim.
  2. Attend the required safety meeting at 8:00 a.m. on race day.
  3. Wear LBS issued numbered swim caps during the Swim.
  4. Follow all instructions issued by Long Bridge Swim officials.
  5. Agree to cease swimming and leave the water if a safety kayaker or other official safety personnel determines that the swimmer should not or cannot complete the swim for whatever reason.


Eric founded the Swim to serve as a fun community event and it is still that at its core. Many swimmers also enjoy the sense of accomplishment from swimming the 1.76 miles across the largest lake in Idaho. In 2010 the Long Bridge Swim began raising money to support swim lessons for local kids and adults who do not know how to swim. Please see LBS Benefits Swim Lessons and Be A Sponsor for more information on how you can support this cause or go to Donate to LBS to make a contribution for swim lessons.

We’re completely pleased to announced the 2021 Long Bridge Swim will proceed in our grand 26-year tradition!

After the COVID-19 pandemic sank our 2020 Long Bridge Swim, we are all systems go for the 2021 swim, to be held on Saturday, August 7, 2021. And you can register right now, so why wait? Click to register.

Our decision last year to cancel the 2020 swim came after due consideration of the many factors arising from the COVID-19 outbreak, and our desire to keep swimmers, volunteers and spectators safe. We have applied all that same criteria this year in making our decision to proceed with our 2021 race. We will be practicing all recommended health precautions to keep our swimmers safe, both in and out of the water.

To register for 2021, sign in to your account at, and make sure you are using the same email you registered with in 2020. Do NOT click “sign up” but rather take these steps:

  1. After you’ve signed in, click on your profile in the upper right hand corner…
  2. That takes you to a new screen. Make sure it’s you and not another racer under your account, then click on the green “Claim” button, then the “Deferrals” tab.
  3. Then you’ll click on “Complete Deferral,” then select the race by clicking “Start Transfer.”

Entry fees offset event expenses, with the balance going to support swim lessons for local children. Would you like to donate a bit extra? The mission of our initiative is to see that no child in Bonner County gets past third grade without learning to swim. Especially in these challenging times for all nonprofit organizations – to say nothing of confused times for children in their schooling and extracurricular activities – we hope for additional donations to support this life-saving and life-changing progra


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