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?

We ask that all swimmers are comfortable swimming 1000 metres (40 laps in a 25m pool) before attending a practice swim. If you are nervous about open water swimming, be sure to let the practice supervisors and lifeguards know that you are new. If you prefer not to swim the 1.5km swim course, you are welcome to stay closer to shore and do a shorter swim.

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. If you are interested in coached open water swims, we recommend Sea Hiker.

Is there an age restriction for practice swims?

All participants are welcome, however swimmers under the age of 19 will need a parents, guardian or coach to sign a waiver before swimming.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

Wetsuits are not mandatory for practice swims, but we ask that you let the supervisors know that you plan to swim without a wetsuit when signing in for practice.

Can I arrive late to a practice swim?

Swimmers who are new to VOWSA practices must arrive in time for the safety talk at approx 6:20pm. We prefer to have everyone start at the same time so there is roughly 1 pack of swimmers for the lifeguards to monitor (although we realize that people will become spread out eventually).

Sometimes swimmers will go around the course 2 or 3 times, so if you are arriving quite late then its 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 non-profit organization, and the practice swims are run entirely by volunteers. Your drop-in fees go towards paying the extra lifeguards to monitor our swimmers during practice, and towards the private recreation parks board permit. 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 – 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?

Sorry, all 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?

Sorry, all entries are non-transferable; safety is of utmost importance in open water swim races, and we want to make sure we have accurate information about everyone in the water. Please see our refund policy.

Can I change the distance of my race?

Yes, please email vowsa.racedirector “at” gmail.com and include your registration confirmation number and the distance you’d like to change to, before the registration deadline (usually 5 days before the event.)

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

Please email vowsa.racedirector “at” gmail.com and include your confirmation number and the race you’d like to change to, before the registration deadline (usually 5 days before the event.) If you are changing to a more expensive race, you will have to pay the difference in registration fees. If you are changing to a less expensive race, unfortunately we cannot issue a refund for the difference.


Canada Day Challenge

I missed the registration deadline – can I still swim?

Unfortunately we cannot accommodate late registration for this race.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

Wetsuits are not mandatory for this race, but for safety reasons we ask that you let us know at check-in that you plan to swim without a wetsuit.


Bay Challenge

I missed the registration deadline – can I still swim?

Unfortunately we cannot accommodate late registration 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 Harbour Master to conduct an 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 not to 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 as safety must take priority over time.


Kits Challenge

I missed the registration deadline – can I still swim?

Unfortunately we cannot accommodate late registration for this race.

Do I have to wear a wetsuit?

Wetsuits are not mandatory for this race, but for safety reasons we ask that you let us know at check-in that you plan to swim without a wetsuit.