CANCELED: 2023 Spring Canyon Open Water Challenge (USMS)

West Texas Swim Coaching

Sunday, May 28, 2023

USMS Sanction : 423-W001

West Texas Swim Coaching

Open Water Registration


Registration Schedule

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Swimmer Registration Wed, Feb 22, 2023
06:00 AM
Mon, Apr 10, 2023
11:59 PM

This competition is limited to the first 150 entrants.
Currently there are 5 entrants.


The Open Water Championship for the USMS Southwest Zone!

Sunday May 28 in the Sanford Dam stilling basin near Fritch, TX

Sanctioned by the New Mexico LMSC for USMS, Inc.

--Swim Safety:  All swims will be unescorted—only host team's safety boats allowed in water.  Spotters and lifeguards in those safety boats will monitor the entire course in zone coverage, and medical personnel will be on site.  Swimmers must wear the assigned Half-mile, 1-mile, or 2-mile race cap.  If wearing two caps, wear the race cap on top.  ALL SWIMMERS WILL BRING TO THE RACE AND PULL A PERSONAL TOW BUOY.  Swimmers will have their number on their swim cap and arms (or hands when wearing long sleeved wetsuits). 

--COVID-19 Safety:  Masks are optional.  We will provide a container at the start for swimmers to discard masks.  Use common sense and take responsibility for protecting yourself.  Anyone exhibiting COVID symptoms will be asked to leave the venue.

WARNING:  The expected water temperature is 60—65 degrees F.  There is however the possibility that it could be less than that.  This necessitates a USMS thermal plan.  BE ADVISED THAT SWIMMING IN COLD WATER CAN RESULT IN DEATH BY COLD SHOCK RESPONSE, COLD INCAPACITY, HYPOTHERMIA, AND CIRCUM-RESCUE COLLAPSE.  TO REGISTER FOR THIS RACE, YOU MUST AGREE TO WEAR A WETSUIT, OR STATE THAT YOU ARE AN EXPERIENCED COLD WATER SWIMMER, OR AGREE TO A PRE-RACE ACCLIMATIZATION PLAN OF INCREASINGLY LONG COLD-WATER SWIMS.  Swimmers who appear unable to finish the race safely will be pulled from the course.   

LOCATION:  The Sanford Dam stilling basin is a small clear-water reservoir below the dam in Spring Canyon surrounded by covered picnic tables with charcoal grills (get there early and grab a table.).  There is a pit toilet at either end of the beach and another at the far end of the stilling basin.  There is no electricity, no drinking water, and no food or drinks for sale.  Bring your own food and drink.  Because it is down in a canyon and behind a huge earth dam, cell phone service is spotty to nonexistent.  This is National Recreation Area property patrolled by federal law enforcement rangers and the county sheriff.  ALCOHOL AND DOGS ARE PROHIBITED IN SPRING CANYON.  Cannabis is illegal under federal and Texas law.

COURSE:  A half mile loop swum counter-clockwise.  Each lap starts and finishes with a short beach run.

RACES:  (in order)

  • 8:15am---MANDATORY SWIMMER MEETING near the start
  • 2 mile (9:00am)—seeded together in the order of estimated 1-mile times without regard for gender, age, or swimwear category.
  • 1 mile (9:30am)—seeded together in the order of estimated 1-mile times without regard for gender, age, or swimwear category.
  • Half-mile (10:30am)—seeded together in the order of estimated half-mile times without regard for gender, age, or swimwear category

March 1 - April 1:  $85.00
April 2 - May 1:  $95.00
May 2 & after:  $105.00

ENTRY CLOSE DATE:  Entries close on May 15 at 11:59pm.  

STARTS:  Wave starts of ten swimmers each at 1-minute intervals from the beach involving a short beach run.

SERIES:  In the future, we expect this race to be the first of an annual three race summer series with the other two races in Lake Meredith proper during the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends.  This is the only race planned for this year.

ELIGIBILITY:  Open only to currently-registered members of US Masters Swimming.  Adults who are not currently-registered USMS members may purchase a USMS "One-Event" membership for $20.00, available during the online entry process.  No on-site registration.

AGE DETERMINING DATE:  The swimmers age on December 31, 2023 will determine the age group.  USMS swimmers must be at least 18 as of the day of the race.

RULES:  In accordance with USMS rules for open water swims.  Under penalty of disqualification, swimmers may not make deliberate contact with water craft or craft operators.  Drafting is allowed.

SAFETY MEETING:  There is a MANDATORY SWIMMER MEETING AT 8:15am near the start.

SWIMWEAR:  There will be wetsuit and non-wetsuit categories.  All swimmers will bring to the race and pull a safety tow buoy for identification and safety.  These are inflatable, tethered to the waist, and towed no farther behind than mid-calf.  Tow buoys must be substantial, fully inflated, and measure at least one (1) foot in length and six (6) inches in diameter.  Recommend those sold by the International Swimming Hall of Fame or XTERRA Wetsuits or something similar. 

WARM-UP:  There will be a spotter provided in the shallow area close to the beach for supervised warm-up after the swimmer safety meeting and until the starts.  Under penalty of disqualification, swimming on the race course other than in one's race, is prohibited.  

ENTRY LIMITS:  The entire event—including all three swims—is limited to the first 150 registrants.

RESULTS:  NO ON-SITE RESULTS.  Results will be published post event at  Age groups for results will be 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80-89.


SOUVENIRS:  T-shirts for all entrants.  Certificate suitable for framing with finish time and place mailed to all finishers.

HOT DRINKS:  If the water temperature is below 60.8F, coffee and hot water for other drinks will be available, before and after the race and at the end of each lap.

DIRECTIONS:  Put SANFORD DAM RM 687 FRITCH TEXAS into your maps app.  IT'S A FULL HOUR FROM AMARILLO IF YOU DON'T GET LOST AND FRITCH HAS A REPUTATION OF BEING A SPEED TRAP.  The stilling basin is the small lake below the dam on the east side.  Access is via a park road from the south end of the dam.

PARKING:  PARKING WILL BE TIGHT.  OBEY VOLUNTEER PARKING GUIDES.  Get there early if you don't want to hike to the start.

EVENT DIRECTOR:   Tom Harris, Email:


Race Course Map:

Meet Course:

Note: If paying by credit card, your credit card statement will reflect a charge from "WEST TEXAS SWIM."

Online Registration closed on 4/10/2023.
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