2014 Open Water Nationals Moved From Wrightsville Beach Over Safety Concerns

USA Swimming has decided to move the 2014 United States Open Water Swimming Championships from the original location of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. The event was originally set for June 13th and 15th, 2014. That race would have put the swim in a salt water venue, after a couple of years of hosting it in fresh water lakes.

USA Swimming Event & Marketing Director Dean Ekeren confirmed to us this morning that the meet has been moved from the four-mile beach island. The reason was one of safety: “on the advice of the local ocean safety officer due to extreme tidal changes anticipated for that date/location,” Ekeren shared.

Bryce Elser, the Open Water Program Manager for USA Swimming, has been working diligently to find a new more suitable location, with a fresh water site near Wrightsville Beach among the places being considered.

USA Swimming will be finalizing plans soon for the new site.

Special thanks from SwimSwam to Dean Ekeren and Mike Unger for taking the time to answer our emails during their time off for the holidays.


  1. sweat-tea says:

    fresh water in Wilmington? Let the world know when you find it…

  2. joke says:

    Open water is a joke in the US. It takes very little knowledge of the water to do well in open swimming in a lake. Half of the open water races are held where there’s not even surf. Open water is not supposed to be just about endurance and being the fastest swimmer. It is about being able to stand on the beach, and look out into the ocean and know the fastest way to get from point A to point B is not always a straight line. Half of the sanctioned races are being held where there is almost no swell, so swimmers do not have to time when they look up during the crest and put their heads down during the trough of the swell. Watch and learn about real open water swimming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qr0UVfA7cgw

  3. Swim right says:

    When will USA Swimming learn that open water nationals needs to be hosted in a venue that is the same as the world or Olympic championship meet?

  4. Kirk Nelson says:

    “The reason was one of safety: ‘on the advice of the local ocean safety officer due to extreme tidal changes anticipated for that date/location,’ Ekeren shared.”

    And they didn’t know this when the event was scheduled there in the first place?

  5. coach says:

    i agree with you kirk… usa-s “didn’t realize the BEACH was a salt-water venue?” really? really? i supposed if usa-s did some research they would have realized the east coast of the usa has a giant salt-water venue called the atlantic ocean!!!

    but this is the same group which didn’t research the greensboro aquatic center (for winter jr nats) to realize the air quality issues which have plagued that facility since it opened in fall 2011.

    perhaps the extra money members are required to pay to usa-s for memberships should go to a research dept which investigates these things.

    just sayin…

  6. Britt says:

    If I’m not mistaken, this event was supposed to be sponsored by the Sandhills Sandsharks, based in Southern Pines, NC. That’s not too far from Seven Lakes, where they held the 2013 NC Open Water Championships, and the 2013 Carolina Cup. That could be an option. It’s a little over two and a half hours away from Wrightsville Beach.

    • Chupi says:

      Even though they’ve already chosen to move it to Castaic Lake, Seven Lakes wouldn’t have been an option for those dates. The US Open for golf is at that time and there are pretty much no hotel options (unless you want to pay thousands of $ per night) anywhere near there.

  7. George Taylor says:

    and the wussification of American youth continues :-(

  8. Coach says:

    Would it be too much to ask for USA Swimming to publish time standards? The OW leadership at USA Swimming is a joke. They didn’t even have a quorum at Convention to be able to vote.

  9. Swim Mom says:

    Agree with “coach” – we need time standards and a location asap – we need to know IF our swimmer has qualified, then determine if we can afford to send him based on where & when!!!! The location change seems bizarre – almost wonder if finances or politics are causing issues. Let’s get this done right USA swimming if we want to be competitive with the rest of the world in these open water events!

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