Say Aloha To This Year’s Waikiki Roughwater Swim

Courtesy of Stefan Reinke, Waikiki Roughwater Swim Committee, Oahu.

Similar to tens of thousands of open water swims around the world in hundreds of countries in lakes, bays, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans, the 2020 Waikiki Roughwater Swim was cancelled this year.

The Waikiki Roughwater Inc Swim Committee made its decision to cancel the 51st Waikiki Roughwater Swim scheduled for September 7th.

Race director Stefan Reinke announced, “Over the last few months, the world and our community has been severely impacted by this pandemic. While open water swimming has been, and remains, one of the activities that has been allowed during the ‘Stay at Home’ and ‘Safer at Home’ phases [in the State of Hawaii], large gatherings, as well as races, have not been deemed appropriate by state and county officials as well as medical professionals.

As a Committee, we explored various options for staging a swim race that would be both fun and meet the necessary social distancing measures to make the event safe for both the swimmers and our volunteers. Ultimately, we concluded that we cannot reconcile the safety needs with maintaining the quality and spirit of the race.

As athletes, we know these are frustrating times. With all of the summer swim races cancelled in 2020, the major triathlons postponed and many running races either cancelled, postponed or in limbo, there seems to be no outlet for athletes to measure their fitness and progress. Training without a goal is challenging, we encourage everyone to continue to enjoy the ocean as much as possible and develop different goals and benchmarks. Whether it is a specific time over a measured course, increased weekly or monthly mileage totals, or a channel swim, you can find a way to stay motivated for 2021.

The Committee’s other race, the Annual Hawaiian Christmas Looong Distance Invitation Rough-H2O Swim (also known as the Double Roughwater) is scheduled to take place on October 24th 2020. Because of the substantially smaller size of that event (with its field limit of 100 swimmers) and the different logistics, we are still working on a plan for that event. A decision on this race will not be made until later this summer.

Watch our Facebook page for further announcements regarding the Looong Swim as well as special events. Stay fit, healthy and safe so that we can see you at the start line in 2021.”

The Waikiki Roughwater Swim is held annually on Labor Day. The event starts at the foot of Diamond Head and finishes at Duke Kahanamoku Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It is the classic “Jewel of the Pacific” of open water swims. This swim is open to swimmers of all ages and has participants from all over the world. The field ranges from Olympians to casual swimmers. On Labor Day September 2th 2019 the race celebrated its 50th Anniversary. It has been canceled twice in the 50-year history because of unsafe conditions. The distance of 2.4 miles for the swim leg of Ironman triathlon races is based on the Waikiki Roughwater swim.

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