Practice Swims – Starting Monday, May 28

All welcome!! Come and join other open water swimmers preparing for VOWSA’s 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. Whether you are a seasoned open water swimmer, regular pool swimmer, tri-athlete or just enjoy the water, come try it out.  You should be comfortable swimming 1 km in a pool.

Our practice swims offer an opportunity to swim with many others on a marked course inside of the powerboat exclusion zone at beautiful Kitsilano Beach.  A safety briefing is provided at the beginning of each swim and lifeguards are on the water and the beach specifically watching out for us. All swimmers sign in at the registration table prior to the safety briefing and most importantly must remember to SIGN OUT immediately upon finishing their swim. This is for your safety so we can confirm all swimmers going into the water made it out safely.

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.


Our practice swims are completely volunteer-run, and we depend on swimmers like YOU to help keep these practices running!

Please consider volunteering for at least one practice swim during the season, even better to do it as a team, so bring a friend and give back to your fellow swimmers.

Volunteering at the Practice Swims involves setting up the registration table, ensuring all swimmers sign in, moving the registration table down to beach and ensuring all swimmers sign out; our volunteer coordinator and the lifeguards do the rest.  Not a bad gig to hang out at Kits Beach on a summer evening!

You can contact our volunteer coordinator at vowsa.volunteer “at” for more information!

Swim Course

The swim course circles Kits Bay inside of the powerboat exclusion zone and averages 1.3-1.5 km for the full circuit. 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

  • Practice swims for the 2018 season will start May 28th, 2018 and conclude August 30th*
  • 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.
  • Sign-in can be found near the main tower, by the trees, near the boat house restaurant. – Map

*No practice swim on Monday July 2, 2018 & Monday, August 6, 2018

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)
  • Whistle (not mandatory but a really good idea)
  • A warm change of clothing for post swim

You should be comfortable swimming 1000 metres (40 laps in a 25m pool) and have all the recommended safety items.

*You can complete a waiver at the beach, but bringing your own will save us time.


→Register now!

For technical problems with registration please contact president “at”

2018 Registration Fees

Category Entry Fee
Single Drop in $5 (Cash Only)
Season Pass $45 (Only Available Online)
5 Swim Punch Card $20 (Available Online or at the beach)
Please bring proof of registration to collect at your first practice swim.

Please note a 2.9% surcharge for credit card processing will be added at the time of registration (online registration only).

Refund policy


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.

Coached Training with 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.

Lessons and Stroke Analysis with Catalyst Kinetics Group

Come improve your swimming and learn with Catalyst Aquatics

  • professional, experienced swim coaches teaching beginners and high level athletes (1-on-1 to create an optimal learning environment)
  • Elite Endless Pool
  • unparalleled feedback
    • mirrors on the bottom of the pool while you swim
    • delayed video feedback while you rest
    • video summary to analyze at home


Don’t have a wetsuit?  A great place to rent or purchase a wetsuit is West Point Cycles.  They are located at 215 East 2nd Ave.  They also carry a wide selection of swim caps, goggles, swim suits and other swimming accessories, as well as triathlon products.  You can contact them at 604.559.9944 or by email at . Please mention you heard of them through VOWSA.


Still have questions? Visit our FAQ page.