Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Open water swimming relays are a great bonding experience. Duos (2), trios (3), quads (4), quintets (5), sextets, and many more gather on an escort boat and each member swims their part (leg).

From swims in Lake Cane in Florida to Camlough Lake in Ireland to the backside of Hong Kong and across the Florida Straits, groups of swimmers have been enjoying open water swimming relays for decades.

Of the hundreds of open water swimming relays currently conducted around the world, the relay rules of the Channel Swimming Association of the 1960′s were largely adopted by the global open water swimming community – along with a smattering of local changes. The changes have included deviations ranging from the number of athletes (with the standard number being 6) to the duration of each swimmer’s leg (with the standard time being 1 hour).

The number of open water swimming relays number in the thousands on every continent, but below are 50 representative events of some ofthe best, most popular, competitive, and unique open water relays in the world:

1. Rottnest Channel Swim (19.7 km in Australia)
2. English Channel (21 miles from England to France)
3. Catalina Channel (20.2 miles from Catalina to California, U.S.A.)
4. Maui Channel Swim (9.6 miles from Lanai to Maui, Hawaii, U.S.A.)
5. Minnetonka Challenge (5 miles in Minnesota, U.S.A.)
6. Magnetic Island to Townsville Open Water Swim (8.5 km in Australia)
7. FKCC Swim Around Key West (12.5 miles in Florida, U.S.A.)
8. Manhattan Island Marathon Swim (28.5 miles in New York, U.S.A.)
9. Swim Around Key West (12.5 miles in Florida, U.S.A.)
10. Tampa Bay Marathon Swim (24 miles in Florida, U.S.A.)
11. Fastnet Relay (15 km in Baltimore, Ireland{
12. Round Jersey (41 miles around Jersey, United Kingdom)
13. Napo’opo’o to Honaunau Swim (4.5 miles in Hawaii, U.S.A.)
14. International Self-Transcendence Marathon-Schwimmen (26.4 km in Switzerland)
15. St. Petersburg to Kotlin Island (24 km in Baltic Sea in Russia)
16. Beltquerung (21 km from Denmark to Germany)
17. FINA World Swimming Championships Team Time Trial (5 km 3-person team pursuit)
18. Tsugaru Channel (19.5 km from Honshu to Hokkaido in Japan)
19. Japan International Open Water Swimming Association (1.6 km in 14 sites throughout Japan)
20. Swim for Freedom (12.8 km in Wisconsin, U.S.A.)
21. St. Vincent’s Foundation Swim Across the Sound (26 km in Connecticut, U.S.A.)
22. La Jolla Cove Swim Club 10-mile Relay (10 miles in California, U.S.A.)
23. Queenford Relays (4×1 km in England)
24. Lake Travis Relay (12 miles in Texas, U.S.A.)
25. Fiji Ocean Swim Festival (10 km in Fiji)
26. Clean Half Marathon Swimming Open Water Relay (14.5 km in Hong Kong)
27. Fiji Swims (18 km in Fiji)
28. Sognefjord Relay Races
29. Farallon Islands (30 miles in California, U.S.A.)
30. World Winter Swimming Championships (4x25m breaststroke relay)
31. Trans Tahoe Relay (10 miles from Nevada to California, U.S.A.)
32. Bonaire EcoSwim (2 km in Bonaire, Netherland Antilles)
33. Jersey France Relay (18 miles from Jersey to France)
34. Santa Barbara Channel (12-52 miles in California, U.S.A.)
35. Steelman Open Water Swim Relay (3 miles in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)
36. Catalina Island Circumnavigation (48 miles in California, U.S.A.)
37. Xiamen-Kinman Swimming (8 km from Taiwan to China)
38. Kitsilano Challenge (6 km in Canada)
39. Loch Ore Meadows Scottish Championships (2 km in Scotland)
40. 4 Loops 4 Fun 6K Open Water Swim (6 km in Colorado, U.S.A.)
41. Espiritu Santo Aore Swim (2.8 km in Vanuatu)
42. Revéza 10 (13 km in Brazil)
43. Travesssia de Itapema 5000 (5 km in Brazil)
44. Tumon Bay Ocean Swim (2.4 km in Guam)
45. Pennock Island Challenge (13.2 km in Alaska, U.S.A.)
46. Marathon de la Releve (16 km in Canada)
47. Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim (13 km in Ireland)
48. Ploegen Tijdrace (500m team pursuit in Netherlands)
49. Great Turtle Relay Swim around Mackinac Island (11 miles in Michigan, U.S.A.)
50. Sitka Sound Adventure Swim (10 km in Alaska, U.S.A.)

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association