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Welcome to the Swim Across America - Denver Open Water Swim. Swimmers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in our 2nd annual event hosted at Chatfield Reservoir. Swimmers can choose to register for 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 5K or family friendly Balloon Splash distances. All Proceeds go to Children's Hospital Colorado for Cancer Research & Blood Disorders.


Welcome to the Swim Across America - Denver Open Water Swim. Swimmers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in our 2nd annual event hosted at Chatfield Reservoir. 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."

This event is limited to a maximum of 300 participants. Be sure and register early!

If you have any questions about SAA - Denver, please contact Nicole Vanderpoel.

Swim Across America, Inc. (“SAA”) is a nonprofit corporation recognized by the IRS with federal tax-exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax ID #22-3248256)


General Fundraising Requirement:

All swimmers are required to raise at least $400 by event day. Swimmers under 18 are required to raise $200 by event day.

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 an exclusive WM gift and access to the WM tent on event day where they will have access to other perks and swag.

Swim as an Individual, or on a Team

A person may elect to swim alone, or be part of a team. Many colleges, high schools, and college alumni will form teams, or teams may be formed in honor or memory of a loved one. All teams are inspirational and rewarding for all of us involved with Swim Across America.

Distance Options:

  • 0.5-Mile
  • 1.0-Mile
  • 5K
  • Balloon Splash (a short distance swim for less experienced swimmers)

Balloon Splash:

The Balloon Splash is for swimmers of all ages who can swim approximately 100-200 yards. Participants can Register on event day with a $25 donation. No pre-registration needed. There is no fundraising minimum but we hope all participants are inspired to make waves with us and fundraise.

Registration Fees:

There is a registration fee that will be credited towards each swimmer's fundraising minimum. The registration fee will change as follows:

  • Register before May 31th with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between June 1st and July 26th with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between July 27th and event day with a registration fee of $100

Online registration will close 48 hours prior to the swim! 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 July and August. Please email Jessica to sign up or for more information.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here. Please bring it with you to the event and provide at check in.

Swim Caps:

Every swimmer must wear the SAA colored cap given to them at the registration for their designated event. You may not switch caps for a different color, for safety purposes.

Wetsuit Rentals and Purchases:

Online Rental: is offering $15 off with code SAA15 on adult and youth wetsuit rentals. You can find more info here.

Online Purchase: Orca is offering a 10% discount on all Orca wetsuits with code SAA10.

Angel Swimmers:

For those people who are nervous about swimming in the open water, we have "swim angels" who are willing 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 during your swim. If you would like to be an angel swimmer, or would like to have one assigned to you, please contact Kelly.


Schedule is tentative and subject to change

All events take place at Chatfield Reservoir Main Swim Beach

6:00 am: Volunteers Arrive/Register

7:00 - 8:45 am: Swimmer Registration - there will be no pre-event packet pickup.

7:30 - 8:30 am: Olympian Autographs

8:30 - 8:45 am: Grand Welcome

9:00 am: 5K Swim Begins

9:30 am: Balloon Splash Begins

10:00 am: 1 Mile Swim Begins

10:15 am: 1/2 Mile Swim Begins

11:00 am: Ceremony

Noon: Event Concludes


Chatfield Reservoir

SAA - Denver is held at Chatfield Reservoir on the South Platte River south of Littleton, Colorado. The reservoir is surrounded by Chatfield State Park, a recreation area with boating, horseback riding and camping.

Chatfield Main Reservoir Water Temp on event day in 2018 was 72 degrees.

Course Map:

2016 Atlanta Map

Site Map:

Coming Soon!


GPS: The entrance near C-470 and Wadsworth has an approximate address of 9700 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, 80128. The address for the south entrance is 11500 N. Roxborough Park Rd., Littleton 80125.

General: The main entrance to Chatfield State Park is located one mile south of C-470 on Wadsworth. Make a left into the park from the traffic light (there will be a brown sign for Chatfield State Park). Please do not enter at Deer Creek Canyon Road. That is the entrance to the Army Corps of Engineers.

From south of the Denver metro area: Santa Fe (Highway 85) to Titan Parkway (approximately 14.6 miles north of Castle Rock). West on Titan to Roxborough Park Road. Take a right on Roxborough Park Road which leads directly into Chatfield State Park.


Coming Soon!

Places to Stay:

Coming Soon!


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 boats are able to communicate via both hand held and ship to shore radios. All swimmers are required to follow specific procedures to participate in the event. These procedures are designed to protect swimmers from injury and will be enforced by the Safety Director.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here. Please bring it with you to the event and provide at check in.


If you have questions about our policies regarding inclement weather, swim equipment or wetsuits, please consult our Policies page.


Greenwood Athletic Club Swim to Fight Cancer - TBA

You may choose to participate in an Olympian swim clinic, organized workout or both. All ages are welcome.

Denver Open Water Swim Clinic to Fight Cancer - TBA

Join us for an open water swim clinic to raise money for cancer research. All ages are welcome, but participants must be open water friendly.


Accomplished open water and pool Swimmer Judy Nelson designed an amazing 6 week training program to swim a mile in open water for SAA-Denver leading up to our swim. Download and get ready to make waves!


If this is your first time participating in Swim Across America 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 - Denver
PO Box 370076
Denver, CO 80237

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



Dr. Winters’ research focus has been the study of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) which is a subtype of leukemia that has historically been difficult to treat. Her research goals are twofold: (1) to identify promising new drugs from lab research and adult clinical trials that may be developed into clinical trials for pediatric AML, and (2) to develop more sensitive and predictive methods to detect AML cells and determine response to treatment. Working in Dr. Craig Jordan's laboratory for the past 3 years, she has developed a highly sensitive test that can detect leukemia cells down to less than 1 in 10,000 normal cells in the bone marrow. With this work Dr. Winters has been collaborating extensively with Dr. Dan Pollyea, the Director of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Program at the University of Colorado and UCHealth. Some of the clinical trial agents in use for adults show tremendous promise for the treatment of AML in high-risk populations, and Dr. Winters is in the process of designing a Phase 1 clinical trial using a similar drug combination in pediatric AML and other childhood cancers.


The Swim Across America - Denver 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 Junior Board, email Nicole.


Olympians and special guests attending SAA-Denver in 2019 will be announced soon!

SAA — Denver is fortunate to have had a wonderful team of Olympians support the event in 2018!

George DiCarlo 1984

Susan Bartholomew-Williams 2004

Susan von der Lippe 1980, 1984, 1988

Lindsay Benko Mintenko 2000, 2004

Mike Mintenko 2000, 2004

Elizabeth Beisel 2008, 2012, 2016

Andrew Gemmell 2012

Missy Franklin 2012, 2016

Heather Petri 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012

Kara Lynn Joyce 2004, 2008, 2012

Brickelle Bro 2012, 2016

Mara Abbott 2016

Klete Keller 2000, 2004, 2008

Ashley Whitney 1996

Doug Gjertsen 1988, 1992



Midway through kindergarten, Teagan was struggling with weight gain, sleeping through dinner and felt tired all the time without any answers. Her school nurse thought something was wrong and told her parents she should be seen by a doctor. After numerous visits to the Urgent Care and no answers, she went to the emergency room at her local hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She was immediately referred to Children’s Hospital Colorado where she received the devastating diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and began her treatment four days later. Her liver and spleen were so enlarged that she waddled around. After six weeks of treatment, Teagan was in remission and then back to school within three months of her diagnosis. Teagan finished her treatment in April 2017, and is now cancer-free. Teagan has always kept a positive attitude even through two and half years of chemotherapy, nausea, and fatigue. Her most memorable experience at Children’s Colorado was playing in the arts and crafts area during her chemo treatments. Today Teagan is a cheerful, outgoing, healthy 4th grader, proud member of her local swim team (backstroke is her favorite stroke!), and participates in Girls on the Run, loves to do cartwheels and can now braid her own hair! She sees her physician, Dr. Amanda Winters, regularly for clinic visits. Teagan’s Mom, Erin, shared “Dr. Winters was absolutely amazing and was with us the minute we stepped into the emergency room at Children’s Colorado and made sure we knew what was happening every step of the way.” Teagan is grateful to be alive and wants to share her story with other cancer patients so she can raise awareness and help other kids and let them know they are not alone.


In the middle of her junior year of high school, Lauren was struggling with intense stomach pains causing her to stop eating and resulting in almost 20 pounds of weight loss while she was doing two-a-day workouts with her high school and club swim teams. After numerous visits to a local Denver emergency room, she received the devastating diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The pain she was feeling was a tumor in her small intestine, causing her intestine to slide into an adjacent part of her intestine (called telescoping/intussusception). Lauren’s parents brought her to Children’s Colorado where she immediately started her treatment under the guidance of Dr. Kelly Maloney. “When my family and I arrived at Children’s Colorado, I immediately felt comfortable which is important when going through such a tough time. Dr. Kelly Maloney was very supportive of my love of swimming and allowed me to race one last time before chemotherapy started. She was great in treating me, making my family feel the best they could during my care and followed my health closely post-treatment.” After 12 weeks of grueling chemotherapy treatment, including the loss of her beautiful long hair (that she dyed bright blue!), horrible migraines, and medications that caused symptoms of shaky hands and blurred vision, Lauren was in remission. Her most memorable experience at Children’s Colorado was when her grandma made a surprise visit to the hospital for her 17th birthday and took her to get gelato every day she was there. Lauren finished her treatment in April 2013 and is now cancer free. Exactly one year and one day after her diagnosis, she was swimming faster than she ever had and accomplished her goal of making the sectional qualifying time for the 1-mile freestyle swim!

Today Lauren is an ambitious, passionate, and intelligent young lady who will be starting her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University in August 2018. She aspires to be a marine animal veterinarian working with rescue, rehabilitation and release. Lauren swims because it has been the one constant in her life. She swam when she wasn’t sick, when she was sick and after she was sick. Swimming has always made her calm - very much like meditation. Lauren is grateful to be alive and hopes to inspire others through her story.