Race Day + Swimmer FAQ

Race Location

SwimBowen takes place at Tunstall Bay Beach. Parking is very limited, so please try to carpool, take transit, etc.

  • Race Day Travel: For those coming from out of town, you can learn more about your travel options here.
  • Weather & Water Quality:
  • Washrooms: There is a public washroom at Tunstall Bay Beach and you’ll see it at the beginning of the beach path. For swimmers, there is also a washroom at the Tunstall Bay Clubhouse and it’s accessible from the beach (next to the the SwimBowen tents).

Race Schedule

  • 3:00 pm — Check-in begins for all swimmers
  • 4:00 pm — Check-in closes for all swimmers
  • 4:00 – 4:15 pm — Swimmer warm-up (optional)
  • 4:15 – 4:20 pm — Mandatory safety briefing for all swimmers
  • 4:30 pm — Race start time for 1000m & 500m
  • 5:00 pm — BBQ begins
  • 5:15 pm — Awards ceremony & prizes!
  • 6:15 pm — Event wraps up

* Race start time is approximate and may be delayed. There is a swim cut-off time of 1 hour.

Swimmer Check-In

Check-in takes place on Tunstall Bay Beach (next to the pier) and will run from 3:00 – 4:00pm. Please be on time, the event kicks off at 4:30pm!

At registration, you will receive a numbered swim cap.  We will mark your hand with your race number. We will also be asking you to confirm your desired race distance (1000m or 500m), as well as confirming your estimated swim time for the desired course.

You must check in yourself and can’t do so for a friend.

* Failure to check-in during above times will result in entry being cancelled.

*There will be no race day registration available.

Race Course

There are 2 options for the race – both are a triangular open-water course:

  • 1000m route – elite/competitive and experienced swimmers (optional for novice/casual swimmers)
  • 500m route –  novice/casual swimmers

Please familiarize yourself with the course map before race day.

Swim Waves

We will have 3 waves on race day – the first being elite/competitive swimmers, then experienced swimmers, then novice swimmers. Beginning at 4:30 pm, the waves will start 1 minute apart and will be announced on the beach.


We will be timing all swimmers! Keep an eye out for one of our volunteers, Elliot, at the finish line. We’ll also have the results posted on our website after the race.

The swim cut off for all swimmers is 1 hour.  At swim cut off, all swimmers still in the water will be brought back to shore via our safety boats.


  • Swim Caps: We have official SwimBowen swim caps and it is mandatory that you wear one. Heck, you’ll want to! 
  • Wetsuits: The water is usually warm so wetsuits are optional! 
  • Fins: Swim fins are allowed for the experienced and novice/casual swimmers, but may not be longer than 15 cm measured from the end of the toes to the end of the fin.

If you would like to leave a bag or personal items with our volunteers while you’re out for your swim, feel free to leave them at our registration table.


It is the swimmer’s job to make sure we have a safe and fun time time on Saturday.

  • If you are feeling unwell on event day or have been unwell during the week, decide if you should swim or not, and then let Mary, our Race Director, know. Taking care of you comes first!
  • If you decide not to swim (after you have checked-in), please let the registration volunteers or Mary know right away.
  • Our finish line marshal will be accounting for you as you finish your swim. Please ensure you’ve been checked off and your time has been entered.
  • If you get into trouble in the water, flip onto your back, raise your arm and wave. Our safety boats and volunteers will come to you and help.
  • If you notice another swimmer in trouble in the water, please follow the same, flip onto your back, raise your arm and wave.
  • Our water marshals include 8 paddle boarders, 4 coach boats and 2 kayakers. Marshals will be identified with safety vests.  

Post-Race Festivities

We will be kicking off the festivities right after the race and we’d love for you to join us!

Our complimentary BBQ and post-race celebration will begin on the beach at 5pm. We’ll have burgers, vegetarian options and refreshments too. If your friends or family would like to join, they are absolutely welcome. All we ask is for a $10/person suggested donation to SwimBowen.

At 5:15pm, we’ll be starting the awards ceremony. We have awards for the top three male and female finishers, an auction, draw prizes, and recognition and grand prize for the top fundraiser too!

Social Media

You can find SwimBowen online on Facebook and Instagram. Our event hashtag is #SwimBowen – feel free to post pictures and share on social!

Our official race photos will be posted on Facebook and our website after the race.