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In 1926, the first organized competitive swim between Vashon Island and Point Defiance in Tacoma, WA was held across approximately two miles of open water, following the ferry route used today. Due to construction to update Owen Beach facilities, we have temporarily moved the course to follow Tacoma’s Ruston Way. We hope to make it possible to repeat this historic feat in 2022!

Blue Wave Aquatics is proud to announce the 7th annual Swim Defiance taking place in Commencement Bay, in Tacoma, Washington. We welcome back returning swimmers as well as everyone else planning to participate in July for the first time.

We changed the Julie Montiel Friends and Family wave to a 1k allowing fins, hand paddles, pull buoys or other desired swim aides. Ankle chips may also be required to track swimmers in and out of the water depending on the number of participants.

2021 Swim Defiance offers a 1K, 3K and 5K event; participants for each events will receive the following:

  • Custom designed participant award
  • Brightly colored custom race cap, ability to purchase discounted brightly swim buoy, both required for swim
  • FREE post-race celebration with yummy refreshments and fun music

Cold Water Swims

Cold water training for Swim Defiance is FREE for current BWAQ members, swimmers with a USMS membership (please contact Zena before coming to the training) and swimmers who have registered for Swim Defiance.

If you are planning to attend confirm with Zena; in person, by email, OR phone 206-651-0823 so we don’t start the swim without you.

Practice Swims for the 2021 season will start June 17, and conclude July 16

Locations and Times

Location and times will be posted as soon as they become available. Please check back here or on our Facebook page.

We reserve the right to change course / location due to conflicting events, tide and snags that can alter the course / location.

Our practice swims offer an opportunity to swim with others, on a pre-approved safe course, at various Puget Sound beaches. Water temperature in the Puget Sound varies over the season from about 54℉ at the start of June up to a high of 59℉ near the end of July. Upwellings of colder water around the course can be refreshing on a hot day, but we do advise wearing a wetsuit both for warmth and floatation.

What to bring

  • 2 swim caps, 1 brightly colored swim cap (not white), 1 silicone or neoprene for underneath
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Wetsuit (not mandatory but a really good idea), neoprene gloves / booties
  • Whistle (not mandatory but a really good idea)
  • An after swim snack or warm drink, rinsing water and change of clothing for post swim

You should be comfortable swimming 1200 yards (48 lengths in a 25 yd pool) / 1000 meters (40 lengths in a 25m pool) and have all the recommended safety items.


Change rooms, washrooms, no showers, concession stand, FREE parking lot. We do not always have a volunteer to watch your gear while you swim, so prepare to leave valuables in your vehicle or lock them with your bicycle on the beach. Zena will have a dry bag to hold car keys safe but there may be a lag to retrieve keys for faster swimmers as Zena will need to remain with the slowest swimmer thru the end of the swim.

Coached Training with Blue Wave Aquatics

Struggling with open water swimming or feeling out of your depth? Check out our Blue Wave Aquatics programs to get your skills and improve your open water confidence. Click here for more information.


Don’t have a wetsuit? We have a couple options!

A great place to rent or purchase a wetsuit is Northwest Tri and Bike. They are located at 15423 SE 272nd St, #107 Kent, WA 98042253-638-BIKE(2453). They also carry a wide selection of goggles, wetsuits and other swimming accessories, as well as triathlon products. Please mention you heard of them through Swim Defiance or Blue Wave Aquatics.

Or we have partnered with XTERRA Wetsuits to bring you some killer discounts! Click on the logo below to see the deals and then sign up on our Facebook page to get the discount code


All EventsComments
Early Bird Special$70.00Monday, May 24th – Monday, June 14th
Registration$80.00Tuesday, June 15th – Thursday, July, 29
Day of Race Registration$95.00July 31st

Registration closes Thursday, July 29th 11:59 PM or when the event is full. Maximum number of athletes for Swim Defiance is 200, depending on the number of participants entered and to ensure spacing, age based waves may be assigned.

Cancellation Policy

NO REFUNDS: There will be NO Refunds if these races must be cancelled due to adverse conditions, dangerous waters, other safety decisions or an act of God.

Race Day Schedule

10:30 AMSwimmer Check in opens
11:15 AMMandatory swimmer Safety Briefing
12:00 PM3K and 5K Race start
12:30 PM1K Julie Montiel Friends and Family Wave Race Start
12:45 PMExpected first 1K / 3K finisher
1:30 PMExpected first 5K finisher
2:00 PM1K / 3K / 5K Swimmer CUT-OFF Time
Participants for both events will receive the following:
  • Custom designed participant award
  • Brightly colored custom race cap, ability to purchase discounted brightly swim buoy, both required for swim
  • FREE post-race celebration with yummy refreshments and fun music


Custom designed participant award and caps to all competitors. Custom event awards for overall male and female in each event. 1st – 3rd place vintage medals will be presented to men and women in age groups 18 – 24, 25 – 29, … 80+. Scrumptious post-race refreshments will be available.


North America

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