Come and join other open water swimmers preparing for VOWSA’s 2013 swim series. These practices at Kitsilano Beach are perfect opportunities to meet new people and familiarize yourself with the challenges that await you in the open water. Distances vary (1 – 4 km) depending on your goals. You should be comfortable swimming 1 km in a pool.
Water temperature in English Bay varies over the season from about 14C at the start of June up to a high of 20C near the end of August. Upwellings of colder water around the course can be refreshing on a hot day, but we do advise wearing a wetsuit both for warmth and flotation.
The swim course circles Kits Bay inside of the powerboat exclusion zone. A map of the approximate course is available Here though movement of buoys due to tides and snags will alter the course over the season.
Location & Time
Sign-in can be found near the main tower, by the trees, near the boat house restaurant. – Map
Practices are every* Mondays and Thursdays beginning at 6:00 pm for safety briefing and sign-in.
Swims start at 6:30 pm; VOWSA lifeguard supervision from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
*No swims on statutory holidays (No swim on Monday, July 1 and Monday, August 5 2013)
The first practice swim of the season is Monday June 3rd and the last practice is Thursday August 29th
What to bring
- Completed Practice Swim Waiver *
- Drop in fee or have paid for Seasons Pass – see costs below
- A parent or coach if you are under 19
- brightly coloured swim cap (not white)
- swim suit
- wetsuit (not mandatory but a really good idea)
- A warm change of clothing for post swim
*You can complete a waiver at the beach, but bringing your own will save us time. If you bring one hole-punched (three holes down the left margin)
Costs & Seasons Pass
Drop-in fee is $5 CAD per swim or $50 CAD for a Season Pass.
Registration & payment for the seasons pass is only available online – here
We cannot accept Season Pass registration at the beach. You can pay a drop-in fee at the beach.
Purchasing a Season Pass also qualifies you for a discount on your Kits Race entry.
Change rooms, washrooms, cold outdoor showers (!), concession stand, pay parking lot (very limited free on-street parking). We do not always have a volunteer to watch your gear while you swim, so prepare to leave valuables in your vehicle or lock them with your bicycle on the beach.
Swim Guide Evenings
If you are nervous about swimming in open water for the first time and would like to join one of our experienced volunteers in a group of similar swimmers for an introductory lap around the course, come out on any of the “Swim Guide Nights” listed on our Calendar.
You should be comfortable swimming 1000 metres (40 laps in a 25m pool) and have all the recommended safety items. Contact one of the Practice Swim Supervisors to be introduced to the evening’s Volunteer Swim Guide.
SeaHiker! Struggling with open water swimming or feeling out of your depth? Check out Sea Hiker courses to get your skills and improve your open water confidence. Click here for more information.
Don’t have a wetsuit yet? A great place to buy or rent wetsuits is International Diving Centre, 2572 Arbutus Street 604-736-2541. They carry a great selection of wetsuits, neoprene caps and goggles. Please mention you heard of them through VOWSA.
Check other suppliers on our sponsors page.