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Thank you for "Making Waves" at SAA-Atlanta this year! You can still register as an SAA My Way virtual participant and fundraise all year. At SAA, fundraising is our scoreboard but you can find safety chip times here.

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 charity swim at beautiful Lake Lanier Olympic Park.

7:00-8:30: Mandatory Check-in
8:00-8:30: Program Begins
8:45: Rolling start
Lake Lanier Olympic Park
3105 Clarks Bridge Road
Gainesville, GA 30506
Swim Options
.5 mile, 1 mile, 3 mile
SAA My Way (Virtual)
18+: $400
Under 18: $200

Welcome to the Swim Across America - Atlanta Open Water Swim! Established in 2013, SAA - Atlanta has donated nearly $3 million to our beneficiary: Aflac Cancer & Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Cancer remains the leading cause of death by illness for children. Despite this, childhood cancer research is consistently underfunded by our federal government. This is why your support and this event are so important.

Each year we host over 1,000 swimmers and volunteers, spectators and supporters, as well as Olympians near and far at our charity swim. Whether you want to volunteer, are a veteran swimmer or a first-time open-water swimmer, or want to come out and support everyone, we welcome you to join us for our 11th annual swim on September 23rd at Lake Lanier Olympic Park!


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.

WaveMaker Status: $1,000 minimum:

WaveMakers go above and beyond the call of duty by raising at least $1,000 regardless of your age. Anyone can achieve WaveMaker status - swimmers, volunteers or SAA My Way participants. WaveMakers get special recognition and an exclusive WM gift on event day. You can learn more about WaveMaker Status here.

Swim as an Individual, or on a Team

A person may elect to swim alone or be part of a team. Many work colleagues will form teams, or teams may be formed in honor or memory of a loved one. Previous participants have found this to be a great team building experience. Each swimmer is still required to meet their individual fundraising minimums and each team has a fundraising minimum of $1,000.

Team Champions - $10,000 minimum:

Teams who raise $10,000 or more by August 1st 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.

Distance Options:

  • 0.5 Mile
  • 1.0 Mile
  • 3.0 Mile*
  • *All 3M participants must be out of the water 2.5 hours after the first 3M swimmer enters the water. If a 3M swimmer is not making the final loop turn by 10:15 AM, then the swimmer will be asked to swim to the finish. All swimmers for all distances must be off course and out of the water by 11:15 AM. The swim course closes at 11:30 AM.

2023 SAA-Atlanta Course Overview and Safety Briefing Video

Please watch this video for a course overview and safety briefing for the 2023 Swim Across America Atlanta Open Water Swim. All swimmers are required to attend the Mandatory Safety Briefing at 8:40 am at center stage on the morning of the swim.

Registration Self-Donation:

Swimmers will be asked to kickstart their fundraising. This allows you to let your supporters know you are personally committed to the mission of SAA. The registration self-donation is a 100% tax deductible donation that is credited toward each swimmer's fundraising minimum. The minimum self-donation amount will change as follows:

  • Register before June 19 with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between June 19 and August 27 with a registration fee of $75
  • Register after August 28 with a registration fee of $100

Online registration will close Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at 12:00 pm 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 3 mile 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.


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 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. You may also reach out to Abby who can help answer any questions.

If you would like to volunteer to be an Angel Swimmer, click Register and select Swimmer. Angel Swimmers will be assigned a swimmer to support throughout the entire swim.

2023 Swimmer Packet:

Please review the 2023 SWIMMER AND VOLUNTEER INFO PACKET before the event. It contains important information about the schedule, what to expect and what to bring.



SAA—Atlanta funds benefit the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Hear directly from the doctors you are supporting about why your funding is critical to their research below.

Established in 2013, the SAA - Atlanta swim has donated nearly $3 million to the Aflac Cancer and 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 supported 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 pediatric and adult patients with AML.

Funds raised from the event currently support three young investigators and their cancer research. Last year alone, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center newly diagnosed more than 500 children with cancer. That is more than any other year in the Center’s history. Clinical trials are the very best shot at more cures and better treatment options—and the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center offers nearly 350 clinical studies available to each of these patients, and the thousands more they treat every single year which is over 8,000 total. Funding young investigators allows for advancement of research and clinical trials and ultimately, better outcomes for more kids.

More details of the specific research projects can be found here.

Want to know more about our beneficiary and where the funds go? View the Aflac Cancer Center infographic here and the 2023 Swim Across America - Atlanta impact report here.


What is SAA MY WAY?

SAA My Way is our virtual offering where you decide your activity and timeline. Register with a $50 self-donation and we’ll send you an SAA Swag Bag to show off your spirit. All donations raised for your My Way will support our SAA-Atlanta event. Click here to learn about all the ways you can have fun your way!

To sign up as an SAA My Way participant for our event, click the register button above and select 'SAA My Way' as your participation type.


Volunteers are the backbone of the Swim Across America Family ensuring our events run smoothly from beginning to end. Even if you aren’t a swimmer, you can still help us in the fight against cancer. Don’t forget, volunteers can fundraise too if they want! Ready to volunteer with us? Click on the Register button and select the Volunteer participation type.

Land Volunteers

Land Volunteers staff all aspects of our event on land. You can anticipate helping with set up, swimmer check-in, finish line support, hospitality and post-swim events/clean up.

Water Volunteers

Our water safety volunteers provide crucial logistical and safety support for our event day. They monitor the swim lane, keep an active eye on all our swimmers, and communicate any swimmer issues to our event officials, and respond appropriately if/as needed.

Our primary needs include experienced kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders, and power boat operators, who will protect the swim course’s outer perimeter.

When you sign up for this role, you must borrow or bring your own vessel. Kayaks can be any kind but sit IN is preferred over sit on TOP because of the back support. We are always looking for extra SIT IN kayaks for our lifeguards. Please contact Nancy Overheim ( if you are able to help out with this. Please do not expect vessels to be provided for you.

We also need experienced open water swimmers to serve as "Angel Swimmers." Angel Swimmers swim alongside of and provide support and encouragement to less experienced open water swimmers.

Questions about volunteering? Check out our SAA Volunteer Page or contact Julie Brown.


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 can find more helpful resources on our fundraising resources page.

NEW! Watch these instructional videos to learn how to register, update your participant center, connect to Facebook and more!

Be a WaveMaker by taking your fundraising to the next level and raising $1,000! Anyone can achieve WaveMaker status - swimmers, volunteers or SAA My Way participants. WaveMakers get special recognition and an exclusive WM gift on event day. You can learn more about WaveMaker Status here.

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.


SAA Safety & Policies:

Participant safety is the most important component of all our events. All swimmers will be asked to follow specific safety procedures and policies to participate, as well as comply with SAA safety personnel, including local and government entities, Lifeguards, and water safety volunteers. Participants are responsible for adequately preparing for their registered event. We ask that all participants review the information packet provided in advance of event day, as well as attend the day-of safety briefing for important safety information.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here.

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

Wetsuits: Orca is an SAA wetsuit partner offering a 20% discount on all Orca purchases with code SAA20.


Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

5:30 am: Volunteer Check In

7:00 - 8:15 am: Swimmer Registration

7:15 - 8:00 am - Olympian autograph session

8:00 - 8:30 am - Welcome Program, Awards, and Special Ceremony

8:40 am: Mandatory Safety Talk for all Swimmers

8:45 am: 3 Mile Swim Start

9:05 am: 1 Mile Swim Start

9:20 am: 0.5 Mile Swim Start

11:15 am: Course Closes

11:30 am: Event Concludes


SAA - Atlanta is held at Lake Lanier Olympic Park. The park's natural beauty provides a unique opportunity for the Olympic Park to become a critical part of the communities’ active lifestyle providing a unique aspect to the quality of life in our region.

Course Map

atlanta-2022_58736550 (3).png


Swim Location:
Lake Lanier Olympic Park
3105 Clarks Bridge Road
Gainesville, GA 30506

From Atlanta:
Take 85 North to 985 North
Take exit 24 toward US-129 N/GA-369 W/Gainesville/Cleveland
Use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto GA-369 W/US-129 N (signs for Jesse Jewell Pwky/New Holland
Turn right onto White Sulphur Rd
Slight left onto Pine Valley Rd
Turn right onto Clarks Bridge Road
Lake Lanier Olympic Park on your right

Places to Stay:

Hampton Inn Gainesville
450 Jesse Jewell Parkway
Gainesville, GA

Fairfield Inn and Suites Gainesville
1755 Browns Bridge Road
Gainesville, GA 30501

Holiday Inn Express and Suites Lake Lanier
1189 Dawsonville Hwy NW
Gainesville, GA
(770) 533-5140


The Swim Across America Junior Advisory Board (JAB) 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.


This year, JAB Ambassadors were appointed to help embrace the SAA mission by working alongside the JAB Members. JAB Ambassadors will help create new ideas to fundraise and grow their philanthropy skills in their community.


Congratulations to the 2023 Junior Advisory Board members and JAB Ambassadors!


For more information on the Junior Advisory Board, email the advisors Kimberly Thompson or Sammie Jo Porter.


Interested in being an SAA Atlanta Partner?

If you'd like to learn more about partnership opportunities, please review the 2023 Sponsorship Guide or email Vicki Bunke.


Athens Pool Swim


Swim Across America - Athens is a Team Relay charity swim. The event will take place in the Ramsey Aquatic Center at UGA. People of all ages and skill levels who are passionate about fighting cancer are encouraged to participate. This year, we are swimming in honor of Jacob Larrazabal who was a proud member of the UGA Swim Club Team. All proceeds will benefit researchers at Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Jacob’s treatment center.



Here are some recent stories that display the impact members of the Swim Across America family have had in the Atlanta community.


2021 SAA - Atlanta:


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



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