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Welcome to the fourth annual Swim Across America - Charlotte Open Water Swim. We are excited to announce the 2020 event will be held at Camp Thunderbird on Saturday, September 19th. We welcome swimmers and supporters of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in our event. Proceeds from the swim will support leukemia research at the Levine Cancer Institute and Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte.


Even in these uncertain times, we can continue making waves to fight cancer. As we navigate COVID-19, we've created a special webpage for event updates, helpful information and ways you can continue to support the mission of Swim Across America.

Our Swim is not a competition, but a fundraising event for everyone, both swimmers and volunteers. Choose a distance to swim or sign up as an event volunteer. Either way we welcome you to the Swim Across America family and our efforts to “Make Waves to Fight Cancer!”

As a swimmer, you will be expected to raise a minimum amount of money. There are no minimum fundraising amounts for event volunteers, however, we do encourage you to do so if possible.

We do have several corporate sponsors that help underwrite the event expenses so that the majority of the monies that participants raise go directly to our beneficiary, Levine Cancer Institute. To see more about SAA giving and non-profit ratings please click here.

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)

If you have any questions about SAA - Charlotte, please contact Allie Gans or Sandra Gans.


General Fundraising Requirements:

All swimmers are required to raise at least $400 by event day. Swimmers under 18 are required to raise $250 by event day.

Participate and Fundraise as an Individual, or on a Team

A person may elect to swim alone or be part of a fundraising team. Grab your colleagues, high school, college alums or neighborhood friends and form a team. Many of our teams swim in honor or memory of a loved one. Teams are inspirational and rewarding for all of us involved with Swim Across America and there is no limit to how many team members you can have on it. All team members are still responsible to meet the fundraising minimums based on their age, swim distance or WaveMaker status.

Distance Options:

  • 0.5 Mile
  • 1.0 Mile
  • 2.0 Mile
  • 3.0 Mile

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 age. You can sign up for any of the 3 swim distances. WaveMakers get an exclusive WM gift and access to other event swag and perks.

Registration Self-Donation:

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

  • Register before June 20th with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between June 21st and August 22nd with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between August 23rd and event day with a registration fee of $100

**For the remainder of the 2020 event season minimum self-donations will remain at $50 until event day.

Online registration will close 48 hours prior to the swim! Event day registration may still be available if space permits.


Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

1:15pm: Volunteers arrive

1:45pm: Registration/Check-in begins

2:40pm: Opening Remarks/Safety Talk/Group Photo/National Anthem

3:00pm: 3 mile start

3:00pm: 2 mile start

3:30pm: 1 mile start

3:40pm: ½ mile start

4:30-5pm: Swim Finish/Awards

5:30-7pm: Picnic Dinner


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, Inc.
11600 N. Community House Rd, #100
Charlotte, NC 28277

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



The new Swim Across America - Charlotte swim site will be located at Camp Thunderbird.

1 Thunderbird Ln,
Lake Wylie, South Carolina 29701

Course Map

Course Map 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 EMTs to ensure swimmer safety. We will have a number of lifeguards, safety kayakers and safety boats out on the course 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 designed to protect participants from injury. These 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.


Swim Across America makes participant safety 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.



Camp Thunderbird
1 Thunderbird Ln,
Lake Wylie, SC 29710


Olympians present at 2018 and 2019 Open Water Swim. 2020 Special Guests TBA.

Hannah Aspden: is a 2-time Bronze Medalist at 2016 Paralympic Games (youngest U.S. swimmer to medal in Rio) and current Queens University student-athlete.

Marko Blazevski: carried the Macedonian flag in the opening ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics. At Wingate, Blazevski won the 400 Individual Medley national title for the third time in four years at the 2014 NCAA Division II national swimming championships. For his illustrious WU career, Blazevski collected 16 NCAA All-American trophies (12 individual, four relay) and four honorable mention laurels (four individual swims).

Karlee Bispo: American former competition swimmer. At the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Bispo won a gold medal in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay with her teammates Katie Ledecky, Shannon Vreeland, and Missy Franklin. A graduate of the University of Texas, Karlee finished her Longhorns career as one of the most decorated swimmers in school history, earning 18 All-American honors and winning 18 Big 12 Championships. She was the 2011 Big 12 Swimmer of the Year and the Texas Women's Athlete of the Year in 2012. She is a two-time Academic All-American. Karlee is currently a nursing student at Queens University in Charlotte.

Charlie Houchin: Earned a gold medal as a member of the winning United States team in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Houchin was a US National Swim Team Member from 2009-2014. At the University of Michigan, he was awarded many All-American honors.

Lauren Perdue: At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she earned a gold medal by swimming for the winning U.S. team in the preliminary heats of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. . At the University of Virginia, she won nineteen ACC championships, received sixteen All-American honors, and was named the ACC Swimmer of the Year and ACC Swimmer of the Championships in both 2010 and 2011.

Tharon Drake: Drake competes in the S11 classification for blind swimmers and holds 13 current American Records. He won silver medals in the 400 freestyle and the 100 breast at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Drake is also the assistant coach for the men’s and women’s swimming programs at Catawba College.


Interested in raising money for SAA - Charlotte, but not sure you're ready for the open water? Why not start a pool swim? Gather together your family, friends or team for a day at the pool. Email us to learn more!


Open Water Swim Clinics TBA.




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