VOWSA FAQ

Contents

 

Practice Swims

I’d like to come swim at a practice swim, but I’m new to open water swimming and I’m not sure if I’m ready – what should I do?

You should be comfortable swimming 1000 metres (40 laps in a 25m pool) before attending a practice swim. If you are understandably nervous about open water swimming, let the practice supervisors and lifeguards know that you are new. You are not required to do the full 1500 m course: you may simply do a portion of the course and swim back to shore, as long as you are not swimming head-on into the pack of oncoming swimmers. Swim straight into shore. Do not swim back into the direction you came from. Once people have done their first few ocean swims, they tend to love it.

I’m new to open water swimming and I’d like some coaching – is there a coach at the practice swims?

There is no coach at our practice swims – practices are self-paced and self-directed. It is sometimes possible to find people to swim with, at a similar pace. VOWSA practice supervisors may be able to assist in matching up people to swim together. You should be prepared to swim on your own and at your own risk.

Is there an age restriction for practice swims?

All participants are welcome. However, swimmers under the age of 19 will need a parent, guardian or coach to sign a waiver before they are permitted to swim at a VOWSA practice swim.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

Wetsuits are not mandatory for practice swims (though most people wear one), but you must inform the VOWSA practice supervisors that you plan to swim without a wetsuit when you sign-in for practice.

Can I arrive late to a practice swim?

Swimmers must be present for the safety talk at approx 6:15 pm and should be ready to swim at 6:30 pm. We prefer to have everyone start at the same time so there is generally one large pack of swimmers for the lifeguards to monitor (although people will spread out).

Sometimes swimmers will go around the course 2 or 3 times, so if you are arriving quite late then it’s possible to join in the “pack” as they go around for their second loop.

Why is there a $5 drop-in fee for practice swims?

VOWSA is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization. Your drop-in fees go towards paying the extra lifeguards to monitor our swimmers during practice, and towards the private recreation permit from the Vancouver Parks Board. For more information on the private recreation permit, please visit the parks board website.


Registration

How do I know if my registration went through?

You should receive a confirmation email at the address used during registration. Please check your spam folder in case the message was accidentally marked as spam!

I’ve registered to swim one of your races, but I’m no longer able to race – can I get a refund?

Unfortunately, all event entries are non-refundable. Please see our refund policy.

I’ve registered to swim one of your races, but I’m no longer able to race – can my friend swim in my place?

Unfortunately, all event entries are non-transferable. Safety is of utmost importance in open water swim races, and we must have accurate information about everyone in the water. Please see our refund policy.

Can I change the distance of my race?

Yes, you can change the distance of your race – but you must do this before the close of registration. Please email the Race Director, include your registration confirmation number and the distance to which you would like to change. No distance changes are permitted once registration is closed.

I’ve registered for one of your swim races, but I’d like to change to a different swim race (i.e. registered for Canada Day challenge, but would like to swim Kits Challenge instead). How do I do this?

Unfortunately, VOWSA event registrations are non-refundable and non-transferable. Please see our refund policy.

VOWSA reserves the right to reschedule or cancel events if water conditions are unsafe. VOWSA reserves the right to refuse entry based on safety or health concerns or previous violations of official rules.

Race Directors:


Canada Day Challenge

I missed the registration deadline – can I still swim?

Unfortunately we cannot accommodate late registrations for this race.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

Wetsuits are not mandatory for this race, but for safety reasons you must let us know at check-in if you plan to change from wetsuit to non-wetsuit, or vice versa. If swimmers fail to inform us of a change of wetsuit category, they will be disqualified.


Bay Challenge

I missed the registration deadline – can I still swim?

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate late registrations for this race.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

Yes, the Bay Challenge is a wetsuit mandatory race.

Why do I need a support boat?

VOWSA has a permit from the Vancouver Harbour Master to conduct a swimming event through this body of water, but they do NOT close shipping lanes during the race.  We are allowed to cross “…subject to no interference with commercial Marine Traffic.” The onus is on each safety boat operator to not allow their swimmer to get in the way of shipping, because shipping has the right of way at all times.

If you encounter marine traffic in this lane, you must be IMMEDIATELY removed from the water and moved to a safe distance from vessel traffic.  After it is safe to continue, please move back to your point of exit & continue your swim.  Your time will not be adjusted for any delay due to vessel traffic. Safety must take priority over finishing time.


Kits Challenge

I missed the registration deadline – can I still swim?

Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate late registrations for this race.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

Wetsuits are not mandatory for this race, but for safety reasons you must let us know at check-in if you plan to change from wetsuit to non-wetsuit, or vice versa. If swimmers fail to inform us of a change of wetsuit category, they will be disqualified.