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Welcome to the Swim Across America - Atlanta Open Water Swim. Swimmers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in our annual event at beautiful Lake Lanier.

Swimmer registration for the 2018 SAA-Atlanta swim is now closed due to max capacity and safety guidelines.

  • SAA—Atlanta funds benefit the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta . The leukemia research project, led by Dr. Douglas Graham and his clinical research team, supports children as well as adults by hosting Phase 1 leukemia clinical trials at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.


Welcome to the Swim Across America - Atlanta Open Water Swim. Swimmers of all ages are invited to take part in our 6th annual event at beautiful Lake Lanier. Whether you are a veteran swimmer or you're looking to do your first open water swim, we welcome you to help us "Make Waves to Fight Cancer."

Established in 2013, the SAA - Atlanta swim has donated more than $1 million to the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. As well, Swim Across America has named a lab in the Aflac Cancer Center. We are proud to support over 1,000 swimmers and volunteers, spectators and supporters, as well as Olympians near and far.

If you have any questions about SAA - Atlanta, please contact Nancy Tao.


General Fundraising Requirements:

All swimmers are required to raise at least $400 by event day. Swimmers under 18 are required to raise $200 by event day. Each registered swimmer is invited to participate in our Duck Splash, held before our beneficiary presentation.

WaveMaker Swimmer: $1,000 minimum:

WaveMakers are elite SAA fundraisers and go above and beyond the call of duty by pledging to raise at least $1,000 regardless of your age. You can sign up for any of the four distances. WaveMakers get exclusive WM gifts, special perks, and access to the WaveMaker photo booth on event day.

Swim as an Individual, or on a Team:

A person may elect to swim alone, or as part of a team. Many work colleagues, high schools, and college alumni will form teams, or teams may be formed in honor or memory of a loved one. Companies looking to sponsor teams can do so for a minimum of $10,000. Read here for team sponsor benefits and more information.

Team Sponsor Benefits:

Teams who raise or are sponsored at $10K or more have access to the VIP Team Zone including a table and tent for a team meet up and hospitality area. The team is also eligible for team t-shirts. Please email Nicole Schwartz for more information. The Team Zone also includes snacks and refreshments.

Distance Options:

  • 0.5 Mile
  • 1.0 Mile
  • 5K
  • Duck Splash (a short distance swim for less experienced swimmers - kids and adults!)

Duck Splash

The Duck Splash is an opportunity for less experienced swimmers of all ages (minimum 5 yrs of age) who want to be a part of a team, fundraise and participate in the excitement. Join us for this fun event which starts at 9:15 am. Both online registration and day of registration is $50. There is no fundraising minimum requirement but we hope all participants are inspired to make waves with us and support the cause.

Registration Fees:

There is a registration fee that will also be credited toward each swimmer's fundraising minimum. The 2018 registration fee schedule is as follows:

  • Register before April 30th with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between May 1st and August 1st with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between August 2nd and event day with a registration fee of $100

Online registration will close Wednesday, September 19th, 2018, at 12 midnight EST. Event day registration may still be available if space permits.

Age Requirements:

Participants ages 12 and under who would like to sign up for the 1 mile or 5K swims are required to obtain a letter from their personal accredited coach (USA Swimming, ASCA, etc) verifying the swimmer is capable of swimming the chosen distance in open water. There's also the option to attend a Swim Across America qualifying swim that will be held in August and September 2018. Please email Nancy to sign up or for more information.


Swim Across America makes swimmer safety the most important component of all our swimming events. A Safety Director is responsible for coordinating all activities within an event, and works closely with the local Fire, Police and EMT's to ensure swimmer safety. We will have a number of lifeguards, safety kayakers and safety boats out on the course with us to ensure swimmer safety at all times. All swimmers are required to follow specific procedures to participate in the event. These procedures are designed to protect swimmers and will be enforced by the Safety Director. You may not switch distances without receiving clearance from the Safety or Event Director. All courses will be cleared by 11:45 am with no exceptions.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here. Please read, sign and bring it with you to the event.

Swim Caps:

Every swimmer must wear the official SAA colored cap given to them at registration for their designated event. The caps are color coded based on the swim distance. You may not switch caps for a different color, for safety purposes.

Angel Swimmers:

For those people who are hesitant about swimming in the open water, we have "swim angels" who volunteer to swim alongside you for encouragement. These people are experienced open water swimmers who are more than happy to encourage you, keep an eye on you and support you during your swim. If you think you might benefit from having an angel swimmer assigned to you please make note of that in your registration. If you would like to volunteer to be an angel swimmer, please contact Jessica.


7:00 - 8:45 am: Swimmer Registration/Land Volunteer Check In (Note: Land volunteer assignments may require an earlier check in time. you will be notified by Alison Millsaps.)

7:30am-8:00 am: Olympian Autograph Session 1

8:00 am: Welcome Program

8:20 am: 5K Swimmer Safety Talk / Rookie Welcome / Why I Swim

8:30 am: 5K Swim Begins

9:10 am: Duck Splash Swimmer Safety Talk / Why I Swim

9:15 am: Duck Splash Begins

9:20 am: 1 Mile Swimmer Safety Talk / Rookie Welcome / Why I Swim

9:30 am: 1 Mile Swim Begins

9:35 am: 1/2 Mile Swimmer Safety Talk

9:45 am: 1/2 Mile Swim Begins

10:30 am: Awards Program

11:00-11:30am: Olympian Autograph Session 2

11:30am : Event Concludes

All registered 2018 SAA swimmers will receive a wristband at registration for complimentary access to Lanier Islands for the day. Discounted tickets to the water park are available for purchase at the ticket booth the day of the event. Please tell them you are with Swim Across America to receive the $31.99/person discounted ticket price.

*schedule subject to change


SAA - Atlanta is held at Lake Lanier Islands. This area features 1,500 scenic acres, situated along the shores of Georgia's 'Great Lake,' Lake Lanier. There is no place in this part of our country as beautiful and unique as this lake. The lake provides for water sports, fishing and relaxing as is located 45 minutes north of Atlanta between 985 and 400.

Course Map

2016 Atlanta Map

Site Map

2016 Atlanta Map


Swim Location:
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
Buford, GA 30518
GPS: 34.17844733072171, -84.0301604975586

From Atlanta: Take I-85-North to 985-North, take Exit 8 Lanier Islands Pkwy. From the off-ramp, make a left at the traffic light to merge onto Lanier Islands Parkway. This road will lead you to Lanier Islands.

Important information for all SAA swimmers, land volunteers, spectators:

At the main gate, please check in. There’s a $15 per car gate fee. This fee is waived for all registered SAA swimmers and land volunteers and you must present your name at the gate. If you are not registered, you will be asked to pay the $15 gate fee.

After the main gate, continue to the next round about with the big clock, take the second right and continue on Lanier Islands Parkway. Look for the Swim Across America signs and also follow the signs to Landshark Landing.

Places to Stay:

Lanier Islands Legacy Lodge
Official hotel of the 2018 Swim Across America Atlanta Open Water Event
7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy
Buford, GA 30518

To make a reservation online, please follow the directions below:

  • Reservations available at an SAA special rate here!
  • Select "dates of stay"
  • Then click on the GREEN box that says “Check Availability”
  • When the next page appears, click on the YELLOW box & View Available rooms
  • Book by phone: 770-945-8787 / 678-318-2018 or toll free 1-800-840-5253

    Book by email:

    Mention 'SAA Discount' when booking.

    Please click here for more information about Legacy Lodge.

    Additional Hotel Options:
    Hilton Garden Inn Gainesville
    1735 Browns Bridge Road
    Gainesville, GA 30501

    Holiday Inn Express (same exit as Legacy Lodge)
    4951 Bristol Industrial Way
    Buford, GA 30518

    Hampton Inn- Flowery Branch
    4660 Holland Dam Rd
    Flowery Branch, GA 30542

    And don't forget to mention the SAA Discount when you book your room!


    The pool swim clinics are general fundraisers for Swim Across America - Atlanta and a great way to get back in the water in preparation for the summer swim season offering drills, techniques, and stroke correction. Olympians and Atlanta's top swim coaches are providing instruction. The Clinics are open to all ages and skill level. Proceeds support pediatric cancer research at the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).

    JUNE 24 (10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)

    SAA Pool Clinic
    Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, 750 Ferst Dr. NW
    Cost: $35
    Coach Kari Murphy and Olympian Nei-Kuan Chia


    In addition, SAA - Atlanta is also offering open water swim clinics at Lake Lanier in advance of the Sept. 22 open water swim event.

    SUNDAY, AUGUST 26 (10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)

    SAA Open Water Clinic
    Lake Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
    Cost: $40 or FREE for Registered SAA Participants

    SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 (10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)

    SAA Open Water Clinic
    Lake Lanier ISlands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
    Cost: $40 or FREE for Registered SAA Participants


    If this is your first time participating or if you just need some tips to be a better fundraiser, click here. It will walk you through the participant center and teach you how to email donors, share on social media sites and download the fundraising app.

    You may support the swimmer of your choice by making an online donation. Or you may send a check, payable to Swim Across America, to the address below:

    Swim Across America
    c/o Nancy Peek
    P.O. Box 1078
    Tucker, GA 30085

    Make sure to include a note with the name of the swimmer you are donating to.


    Text SAA to 24587
    Follow prompts to donate. Please note this does not provide the opportunity to designate to a specific swimmer but can be great to share at fundraising events!


    The Swim Across America Junior Advisory Board is a volunteer group of select high school students chosen by their coaches to lead their school’s swim teams in participation, team-building and fundraising. To support their fundraising efforts and teams, or for interest in the 2018 Junior Board, email their advisor Amelia Farmer.

    Advisor Emeritus: Dr. Julie Granger
    2017 JAB President & Current Advisor: Amelia Farmer
    JAB President: Madeline Singletary

    2018 Junior Advisory Board Members:

  • Ellie Crosswell
  • Sarah Grace Thompson
  • Eemil Harkonen
  • Jaime Matherson
  • Stella Newton
  • Abby Pilkenton
  • Kate Pitfield
  • Emma Schwartz
  • Kendall Seefried
  • Parker Solberg
  • Ava Westfall


    This is an award to honor Grace Bunke’s positive attitude, fearless determination, and infinite spirit. Swim Across America Atlanta will present the award annually at the open water swim event as a way of keeping Grace in our hearts as well as a reminder for Why We Swim. The purpose of the award is to encourage everyone to take after Grace and to remember that “hope has no finish line.” Grace was loved and admired for her go-getter attitude and display of grit in the face of hardship. Grace represents the passion and commitment that Swim Across America participants and its supporters embrace in Atlanta and across the country to swim, to volunteer and to fundraise to the fullest potential and to "Make Waves to Fight Cancer." The award honors Grace while simultaneously promoting perseverance and fearless determination and recognizing an individual who embraces these same qualities of character.

    Read more about the award here and nominate a deserving recipient here.




    SAA—Atlanta funds benefit the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The leukemia research project, led by Dr. Douglas Graham and his clinical research team, supports children as well as adults by hosting Phase 1 leukemia clinical trials at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.


    National Partners