Describe Your Event

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Dive in to the largest lake in the Black Hills of South Dakota for a beautiful and invigorating open-water swim race.

PurePactola offers three distance options from 0.5 miles to 2.4 miles, giving everyone a chance to put their skills to the test in Pactola Reservoir’s deep, crisp waters.


Water clarity is usually about 20 to 30 feet.

Water temperature is expected to be between 68 and 72 degrees. Visit our Facebook page for the most up-to-date water temperatures.

There is a wetsuit and a non-wetsuit division. Swimmers are encouraged to consider the wetsuit division, unless experienced in swimming in temperatures approximating 70 degrees without a wetsuit.


Swimmer safety always comes first! Several local agencies and volunteers will be on hand to help with any issues that may arise.

  • Athletic trainers from Regional Health
  • On-the-water rescue swimmers and EMTs from Black Hills Aquatic Adventures
  • On-land paramedics from the Johnson Siding Volunteer Fire Department
  • 25 safety kayaker volunteers from Black Hills Kayakers
  • Five motor boats
  • Numerous overlook volunteers
  • On-the-water back-up from the Pennington County Sheriffs Department

Learn more about training for open-water swimming events from World Open Water Swimming Association and USA Triathlon.


Family and friends can watch the swim from the shore. There are also visitor parking areas along the dam.

Swimmers are required to use the designated swimmer parking lot and take the free shuttle bus into the start area. Information about the swimmer parking lot will be distributed on our Facebook page and via email prior to the event. A one-day park pass is required to park in the swim beach parking lot, and will be sold on-site by the park concessionaire, separate from the event registration, for event volunteers and the public.


There are accommodations throughout the Black Hills. You can stay on-site at the Pactola Reservoir Campground — find more information about camping at Pactola here. Or visit our fantastic sponsor Liv Hospitality for lodging options. While you’re here, visit Rush Mountain Adventure Park for a great time and Roam’n Around for outdoor gear and tours of the Black Hills.


Visit the PurePactola Facebook page for the most current event information. We’re regularly sharing things like water temperature, parking instructions, and safety and route information.


  • 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. day-of event registration
  • 7:30 a.m. mandatory swimmer safety meeting
  • 8:00 a.m. start time for 2.4 mile swim
  • 8:15 a.m. start time for 1.2 mile swim
  • 8:30 a.m. start time for 0.5 mile swims
  • 9:45 a.m. picnic and awards


North America

Distances Offered

under 1k





Swim Type


Water Type