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open water.


Red Tide Open Water Team is an exciting part of our team membership and community. Open water swimming involves swimming in natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, or oceans, as opposed to swimming pools. It offers a unique and exhilarating experience, connecting our Red Tide swimmers with the beauty and vastness of nature.


Beyond the sheer joy of exploration, open water swimming provides several benefits. It is an excellent cardiovascular workout, enhancing overall fitness and endurance. The exposure to changing currents, temperatures, and wave patterns challenges the body, improving strength and resilience. Open water swimming offers a mental escape from the confines of a pool, promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and a sense of freedom. Overall, it is a refreshing and invigorating activity that combines physical and mental well-being with a deep appreciation for the natural world.


Our Red Tide Open Water Team swims all year around at Brighton Beach-Coney Island. A short trip to a beach destination from any NYC borough! We have a range of RT members who are open water beginners to experienced, ranked Nationally and Internationally in open water events and races.

Our team is lead by a team of experienced open water swimmers, like Leslie Hamilton, Marty Munson, Sebastian Moll, Jen Langgons, Patrick Leary, and others! We have an exciting calendar of RT OW events, and clinics that every RT pool member would enjoy!  

Brighton Beach / Coney Island
Q: How do I get there?

A: Take the Q train to the Brighton Beach stop.  Take the Brighton 5th subway exit and walk west to Brighton 4th.  Then walk south down Brighton 4th until you see the beach. The lifeguard chair that is closest to the large pavillion directly ahead of you on is known as "Grimado's Chair."  This is where we meet. You'll also see "Volna" and "Tatiana" restaurants to the left of you if you're on the boardwalk facing the beach.

Q: Where do I swim?

A: We swim parallel to the shore, no more than 500 feet out (more below).  Grimaldo's Chair to Coney Island Pier and back is 3,500 m.  The "loop," which is Grimaldos - Pier - the "White Building" (the name it goes by but it's really the large red brick building at the end of the beach) - Grimaldo's is 5k.  You'll see lots of rocky jetties along the beach, roughly every 400m. These are good markers for distance and a great tool for beginners, swimming between the jetties can help you gain confidence and they will also block the wind on rough days.

Q: What about safety?

A: The 5k loop from Brighton beach to Coney Island is the best open water training grounds in NYC.  As long as you swim parallel to the shore with a buddy and stay aware of your surroundings, it is a safe place to swim. CIBBOWS (Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers) has placed bouy markers exactly 500 feet from shore all along the route.  Watercraft (boats, jetskis, etc) are legally not allowed any closer to shore than this, and swimmers should not be any further out than that. It's highly recommended that you purchase a swim bouy like this one on Amazon if you plan on swimming further than just between the jetties.  This will increase your visibility to other swimmers, the lifeguards, and all watercraft, adding another layer of safety.

Q:  What about "wildlife"/ water quality?

A: The water is clean and safe to swim in, with rare exceptions after heavy storms. There are no sharks here.  And even if there were, they don't want to eat you.  Depending on the season you may see horseshoe crabs on the bottom of the ocean where it's shallow and the occasional school of fish.You might run into non- stinging, harmless Salps or Moon Jellies, they both feel like Jell-o.  Later in the season you could get bitten by sea lice if you don't wear a bikini/ speedo (they are baby jellyfish larvae which get trapped in one pieces/jammers and can leave an itchy bite).

Q: What should I bring?

A: 2 towels (1 to lay out and 1 to dry off), bouy, cap, goggles, sunscreen, HYDRATION, earplugs in cooler water, vaseline if you are planning on swimming longer than 45 min-hour because saltwater will chafe your arms from repeated motion, a hat for sun protection.

More information?

More information is available at this link from CIBBOWS, a great OW organization loved by many Red Tiders

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