Open Water Swimmers to Dive Into Local Lakes This Summer


Swimming enthusiasts are hoping a lake competition coming to the Valley this summer and fall puts Arizona on the map for open water events.

The Arizona Open Water Swim Series will begin on May 2 with 2K and 4K events in Saguaro Lake, then on to Lake Pleasant and back to Saguaro in later months. The competition culminates in November with a splash in the Tempe Town Lake for a total of five open water swims.

DCB Extreme Adventures is coordinating the series -- the same maniacal folks who host the annual "Dawn to Dusk" mountain bike ride in the McDowell's.

A similar, five-event open-water competition took place a few years ago, but organizers would like to see this year's series kick off an annual tradition in the Valley that attracts open-water swimmers from around the world, says June Hussey, open water chairperson for the Arizona Masters Swimming club.

No doubt there's a special pleasure swimmers feel from cruising miles in a mandmade desert lake, past barrel cactus and gila monsters. But -- ack, that lakey taste!

No worries, says Hussey.

"If you've ever swam in the ocean, you don't complain about lakewater," she says.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.