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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.

  • 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 7th annual event at beautiful Lake Lanier. Each year, we are proud to support over 1,000 swimmers and volunteers, spectators and supporters, as well as Olympians near and far.

Established in 2013, the SAA - Atlanta swim has donated more than $1.75 million to the Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. From 2013 to 2016, SAA—Atlanta fundraising efforts supported Dr. Tobey MacDonald and his team’s research of pediatric brain cancer at the Swim Across America Lab, located at the Aflac Cancer Center Egleston Campus. Dr. MacDonald’s research led to identification of a novel driver of medulloblastoma tumor growth and metastasis.

Funds raised from the 2016-2019 swims support leukemia research and clinical trials under the direction of Dr. Douglas Graham and his team of researchers at the Aflac Cancer Center and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. Thanks to the strong partnerships between Swim Across America, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and the Graham/DeRyckere laboratory, clinical trials are underway to help adult patients with AML, and will be starting in pediatrics later this year!

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."

If you have any questions about SAA - Atlanta, please contact Nicole Schwartz or Alison Millsaps.


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.

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.

Top Fundraiser Benefits:

Individuals who raise $3,000 or more by August 17th will receive 2 tickets to the Swim Across America VIP dinner on Friday, September 27 and meet the Olympians. In addition, the FIRST 10 individuals to raise $3,000 or more by August 17th will receive a Mizuno gift package that includes a backpack, running shoes, and swim tshirt!

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 by August 17th 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 Zone

Duck Splash Zone

The Duck Splash Zone is an opportunity for less experienced swimmers (minimum 5 yrs of age) to participate in the excitement of event day and make waves to fight cancer! The zone will be a sectioned off area of the beach and shallow water area near Landshark Landing, filled with inflatable ducks, volunteers to assist swimmers, and monitored by lifeguards. There is no fundraising requirement, though we encourage all Duck Splash Zone participants to make a donation in order to receive a towel and help support the cause.

Registration Fees:

There is a registration fee that will also be credited toward each swimmer's fundraising minimum. The 2019 registration fee schedule is as follows:

  • Register before March 1st with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between March 2nd and July 1st with a registration fee of $75
  • Register after July 1st with a registration fee of $100

Online registration will close Wednesday, September 25th, 2019, at 12 midnight EST or as soon as the event is full. Claim your spot as soon as possible - we typically sell out every year!

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. Submit the form here. If you would like some extra practice and a chance to get your feet wet, we have two open water swim clinics held in August and September that you may attend. Please email Nancy Overheim 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.


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

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 Malena Hankins.


Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

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

9:20 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

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.


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
7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy
Buford, GA 30518

Currently SOLD OUT.
To put your name on the waitlist call Legacy Lodge directly at 770-945-8787 / 678-318-2018 or toll free 1-800-840-5253.

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


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 - Atlanta
C/O Nancy Peek
PO Box 1078
Tucker, GA 30085

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


The open water 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 from Atlanta's top swim coaches. 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).

SAA - Atlanta is offering the following open water swim clinics at Lake Lanier in advance of the Sept. 28 open water swim event:


Lake Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Price: $40.00
Register HERE.


Lake Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Price: $40.00
Register HERE.


The Swim Across America Junior Advisory Board is a volunteer group of select middle and high school students who were selected by the SAA Core Committee through an application process to lead their school or club swim team in participation, team-building and fundraising. For more information on the Junior Advisory Board,, email the advisor Jessica Cooper.

JAB Advisor: Jessica Cooper
JAB Peer Advisor: Maddie Singletary
2019 JAB President: Sarah-Grace Thompson
2019 JAB Secretary: Emma Schwartz

2019 Junior Advisory Board Members:

Abby McCulloh
Abby Pilkenton
Abby McKinney
Ava Westfall
Camille Messonnier
Emma Schwartz
Grace Drawdy
Jaime Matherson
Kate Pitfield
LE Crosswell
Mary Claire Anderson
Parker Solberg
Rucker Robinson
Sarah-Grace Thompson
Stella Newton
Zoe Mock

To inquire about the Swim Across America mailbox decorations being sold by the JAB, please contact Kimberly Thompson.


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. Nominations for the 2019 Grace Bunke Award will open on Monday, August 5th.




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.




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