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Sunday, July 14, 2019 - 2019 PurePactola: A Dam Good Swim!

2018 PurePactola: A Dam Good Swim!

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Active Black Hills LLC

Open Water Registration

Registration Schedule

It is now 8:50 AM CT Time on Friday, May 24, 2019.
Open Close
Swimmer Registration Wed, May 2, 2018
12:00 AM
Sun, Jul 8, 2018
07:00 AM

Swim the 2nd Pure Pactola - a dam good swim on Sunday July 8, 2018!

Pure Pactola is an open water swim event, in a deep fresh water reservoir in the Black Hills of South Dakota (near Mt.Rushmore and Rapid City) with 3 distance options in 2018: .5 miles, 1.2 mi, and 2.4 miles.

We will start/end at the swim beach, and swim towards the Visitor’s Center at the dam.  The .5 distance will turn back before the dam; an in and out route. The 1.2 turns around close to the Visitor’s Center.  The 2.4 distance turns at the Visitor’s Center to swim to the midpoint of the dam and back. 2018 route maps are posted on the PurePactola Facebook page. A short video of the 2017 PurePactola swim can be found on our Facebook page.

Water temp is expected to be between 68 - 73 degrees.

Water clarity is usually about 20-30 feet.  We will have frequent route markers, with 7 ft turn buoys at each turn, and at the start/finish this year for fantastic visibility!

There is a wetsuit and a non-wetsuit division.  Swimmers are encouraged to consider the wetsuit division unless experienced in swimming in temps approximating 70 degrees without a wetsuit, and to check back frequently to our Facebook page the week before the race for updated water temps.  Information about training for open water swimming events can be found at,, and, 

Stay in the campground at Pactola ( or anywhere in the Black Hills, please visit our sponsor Liv Entertainment for lodging options in the Black Hills.

Family and friends can watch the swim from the shore along the side of the route or visitor parking areas along the dam.  Swimmers will be encouraged to use one of several nearby free parking lots, and then carpool into the swim beach area for the start.  Information about the free lots will be distributed on our Facebook page prior to the event. A one day park pass is required to park in the swim beach parking lot, and will be sold on-site by the park concessionaire, separate from the event registration.

The swim starts at 8:00 am for 2.4 mile, at 8:15 for 1.2 mile., and 8:30 for .5 mile swims.  Swimmers are strongly encouraged to register online. T-shirts are only guaranteed for swimmers who have registered by June 15.  Registration $40 during May, June 1-30 is $50, July 1-7 is $60, and event day registration is $75, for all event distances.  Registration rates are sharply higher for same day registrations; event-day registration is only available from 6:00 - 7:00 am.  Mandatory swimmer safety meeting at 7:30 on race day.

Picnic and awards after the swim, around 9:45 am.

Check the PurePactola Facebook page frequently for updated event information (ie water temps, parking info, sponsor info, and safety and route information.) This event is hosted and run entirely by local volunteers with a love of open water swimming. We make a donation to a local charity each year with event proceeds.   We are proud to share the lovely Black Hills with you at our dam good swim!

World Open Water Swimming Association/WOWSA sanctioning for 2018!  Swimmers are encouraged to join WOWSA, but are not required. No USMS membership is required to swim this event.  Please directly contact the event director, Laura, at if you have a teenage swimmer who wants to participate, for more information about required consent/waiver, and verification of ability (needed from their current swim coach and parent) prior to the teenage swimmer being allowed to register.  All teenage registrants must register online, in advance, as time is needed to gather necessary waivers and verification of ability.  No event-day registration of teen swimmers will be allowed.

Entry fee payable by credit card to Events. Non-refundable. Non-transferable.

In 2017 we donated $1000 to the Johnson Siding Volunteer Fire Department, as the first responders to Pactola emergencies.
Help us support our volunteer first responders, who help keep our open waters safe to swim in while enjoying a dam good swim!

Any questions? Email Laura at

Please note: If paying by credit card, your credit card statement will reflect a charge from " Events."

Online Registration closed on 7/8/2018.

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