2018 United States Winter Swimming National Championships

February 10, 2018 in New York, New York

The United States Winter Swimming Association will host its 2018 National Championships in collaboration with the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. The event will be held in Brooklyn, New York on the iconic Coney Island Boardwalk. The tentative venue for the event is New York City Aquariums's Education Hall but is subject to change.

Swimming lane lines will be laid out in the ocean, swimming out and back to bouys. The ocean is expected to be around 35°F to 40°F (2°C to 5°C) and the likely air temperature will range from 38°F to 27°F (4°C to -3°C). If the ocean and weather conditions are unsuitable, an alternative location will be used.

Participation & Qualification

You must be a 2018 member of the USWSA to participate. International athletes are exempt to this requirement.

The sport of Winter Swimming is defined as “swimming in waters of 5°C/41°F or below”. We strongly recommend medical consultation with a doctor before training for or competing in a winter swim event. It is ill-advised to swim in these conditions without support and some acclimatization.

Participation in each event is subject to successful completion of a prior swim of half the distance, e.g. to swim the 100 meter Freestyle you will need to have demonstrated a successful 50 meter swim. Any swimmer is subject to a medical evaluation, primarily but not limited to blood pressure and EKG examination, and can be denied the opportunity to swim any event.

Race Fees

25 Meter Breaststroke: $30.00 USD
25 Meter Butterfly: $30.00 USD
25 Meter Freestyle: $30.00 USD
50 Meter Breaststroke: $30.00 USD
50 Meter Freestyle: $30.00 USD
100 Meter Freestyle: $30.00 USD
200 Meter Freestyle: $30.00 USD
4 x 50m Relay: No cost, team registrations will be made at the event.
Discounts for mutiple events:

Register for 4 or more events excluding the relay for only $100.

Discounts rates apply to your first registration only, if you choose to enter additional races at a later time no discount will be applied.

The United States Winter Swimming Association was created to promote the winter swimming in the United States and worldwide. With this goal in mind we welcome our fellow swimmers from winter swimming clubs around the world to particpate with no registration costs.

Swimmers residing in the United States with foreign citzenships are still required to be a registered USWSA member and submit payments for thier events.

International athletes please contact us directly for your international registration and to request event invitation letters for visas.

Register Now     (If you are not a USWSA member, join here.)

Not interested in swimming but you would like to help out,    Volunteer.

Event Schedule

Friday, February 9
Winter Swimmer Meet & Greet (6:30-8pm)
Tentative Location: 57 Belle House, 151 East 57th St, between Lexington & 3rd Ave (back room, cash bar)

Saturday, February 10
2018 National Championships
Tentative Venue: New York City Aquariums's Education Hall, 602 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

  • 9:30am – swimmer check in (open all day)
  • 10:00am – 200m free
  • 11:00am – 25m breast
  • 12:00am – 50m free
  • 1:00pm – 50m breast
  • 1:30pm – 50m butterfly
  • 2:00pm – 100m free
  • 3:00pm – 25m free
  • 5:00pm – relays
  • 6:00pm – ***cash bar opens***
  • 6:00pm – ***award ceremony and dinner***
  • 8:00pm – end

Sunday, February 11
Polar Bear Swim

  • 11am – breakfast in Coney Island at Tom's Diner (1229 Boardwalk, Brooklyn, NY 11224)
  • 1pm – dip/swim with the Coney Island Polar Bears (meeting at Education Hall on Coney Island Boardwalk)

In collaboration with:


Most hotels are in Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, so you will need to use the subway or a car service to get to Coney Island. The closet hotel is the Sleep Inn Coney Island . It is about 1 mile away from the beach and rates $129-159 (plus tax). Other than the beach Coney Island in February is very quiet.

If you prefer sight see and enjoy New York City you may wish to stay in Manhattan. The Times Square area is centrally located and has many hotels and direct subway service via the N or F train to Coney Island. A few options include the Crown Plaza (this hotel has a nice pool), the Times Square Hyatt and the Times Square Hilton. Rates vary between $189 - $250 (plus tax). An inexpensive option is the Hotel Pennsylvania across from Penn Station - a little dated but rates are around $100. For best rates at any of the hotels check on Trip Adviser or Trivago.


From JFK or Newark Airports - From either airport there is public transportation where you can connnect to subway stations near your hotel. If arriving from from JFK the AirTrain connects to the subway lines to all points in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Coney Island is the last stop on the F and N lines. From Times Square it is about 1 hour, and Uber and taxi service will cost approximately $45-55.

The subway is the most efficient way to get around. A complete map of the subway system is at MTA maps. Additionally a Metrocard is needed on the subways - they can be purchased at any station in varying amounts. Subway fare is $2.75 but if you purchase in increments of $20 or more it is discounted.

The USWSA is a non-profit corporation with the mission to develop and promote the sport of winter swimming in the United States (as defined by “swimming in waters of 41°F/5°C or below”) by establishing safety guidelines and helping foster competition and fellowship among winter swimmers in the US and abroad.

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