Swimming Across the Potomac

by - Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with my friend Emily-Anne when she asked if I wanted to swim across the Potomac River with her in the Washington's Crossing Swim.


I was a little apprehensive at first. I haven't done an open water swim in ages (probably since my triathlon in 2012). And the Potomac River is not known for being clean.

But I mulled it over, and two days later I was texting her to ask her to send me the registration info.

So now we're both registered to swim about 1.4 miles from Alexandria, Va., to National Harbor, Md., in early June.

I'm trying to figure out the best way to train for this sort of event. I looked at some half Ironman training programs to see what sort of swim workouts they recommended. I Googled "how to train to swim a mile" and found a "coach to one-mile" swim program.

But I haven't found any program that I've been particularly drawn to. So if anyone has suggestions, I'm open to ideas.

So far my training has been two swims.

Last week I did an endurance swim where I just tried to cover 2500 yards. I broke it down in to a 1,000 and a 1,500 because I was worried about losing track of the distance. That was mentally exhausting, but probably some good practice for an open water swim where I can't rest on the walls.

Then today I did what I consider a more traditional swim workout broken up in to shorter sets. In total, I did about 1,700 yards.

I'm also desperately in need of a new pair of goggles, so if you have any favorites to share, leave them in the comments!

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  1. I'd say if you can find a half Ironman program you like and just follow the swims that'd be great! Sounds like you can already do the distance, but 3+ swims a week and you'll start getting faster. The other thing is getting in a few open water swims prior to is ideal. I think they may have some practice swims at the location before the event, so check those out too.

    I did this swim a few years ago and it was fun, jumping off the ferry is a cool start! Lemme know if you have any other questions or anything else I can help with :)

  2. Anonymous12:07 AM

    Hey Jess, this is really an awesome event that you're registered in. For the goggles, I was able to try the Roka R1 Anti-Fog and it worked well. A bit tight at the side strap though. Hope this helps!