Swim Course

The Chicago River Swim offers endurance athletes a once-in-a-lifetime experience to swim among Chicago’s iconic skyscrapers and under its historic bridges for the first time in nearly 100 years.

This 2.4 mile course spans the south and main branches of the Chicago River (reference map at right). The event is sanctioned by the City of Chicago and set on a traffic-free waterway under authority of the US Coast Guard. The swim is fully-supported by a variety of water and land-based rescue and medical personnel.

Note: Only authorized participants are allowed into this event. Swimming in the Chicago River is prohibited at any other time of the year. 



Early on event morning, participants for the proposed event will check-in at the Finish Venue on the Riverwalk, grab a snack and board a large vessel for transport to Ping Tom Park. A final safety briefing will be hosted en route.


Upon arrival in Chinatown, participants will eventually start in groups of 50 swimmers, released every few minutes from Ping Tom Park dock in Chicago’s Chinatown neighborhood. Participants will swim north, following a line of buoys until reaching the Lake Street Bridge, where they will turn right (east) and finish in front of the River Theater at the Clark Street Bridge.


Participants will exit the water just beyond the finish line – at the Tiny Tapp on Chicago’s famous Riverwalk, host of the Post-Race Party. Finisher swag, food, adult beverages, results and awards will continue through the morning.


More details, including spectator recommendations will be shared soon.

Click for Full Map