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Welcome to the fifth annual Swim Across America - Charlotte Open Water Swim.
We are excited to announce the 2021 event will be held at Camp Thunderbird on Sunday, October 3. 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 cancer research at Levine Cancer Institute and Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte.

Thank you for making our 2021 swim a success! You can still register as a virtual SAA My Way participant and fundraise to support local cancer research this year.

1:45-2:45: Mandatory Check-in
3:00: Rolling Start
4:30: Post Event Celebration
Camp Thunderbird
1 Thunderbird Ln
Lake Wylie, SC 29701
Swim Options
.5 mile, 1 mile, 2 miles
SAA My Way (Virtual)
18+: $400
Under 18: $250

Welcome to the Swim Across America - Charlotte Open Water Swim! Established in 2017, SAA - Charlotte has donated over $450,000 to our beneficiaries: Levine Cancer Institute and Levine Children's Hospital. Thank you for your support of cancer care in Charlotte.

Each year we are proud to host over 300 swimmers and volunteers, spectators and supporters, as well as Olympians near and far at our charity swim. We are so excited to have you join us for our 5th annual swim on October 3rd at Camp Thunderbird!

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."

Swim Across America is dedicated to providing a safe return to events in 2021.


Swim Across America - Charlotte supports cancer research and clinical trials at Levine Cancer Institute and Levine Children's Hospital. Hear directly from the doctors you are supporting about why your funding is critical to their research below.


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.

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.

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

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 July 2nd with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between July 3rd and September 3rd with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between September 4th 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.


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-Charlotte event. If you meet the fundraising minimum and later choose to join us at the swim, we can change your registration status. 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 event 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

Water volunteers consist of kayakers, stand-up paddleboarders and power boaters that provide crucial logistical and safety support to our event officials and for our swimmers. They will monitor the swim lane, keep an active eye on all our swimmers and communicate any swimmer issues to our event officials.

Questions about volunteering? Check out our SAA Volunteer Page or contact our Volunteer Coordinator - Allie Gans


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.

Be a WaveMaker by taking your fundraising to the next level and raising $1000! 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, Inc.
8508 Park Road, #389
Charlotte, NC 28210

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


2021 Return to Events Updates:

For three decades, Swim Across America has been committed to providing a safe environment for our charity activities. COVID-19 brings a new dimension as we create our safety protocols. Each of our charity swims will abide by local, state and national guidelines. COVID-19 will likely have some impact on our ability to offer the day of experience you’ve come to expect.

All participants and volunteers will be asked to follow safety procedures and policies. Participants are responsible for adequately preparing for their registered charity event. We ask that all participants review the information packet provided in advance and attend the day-of safety briefing if you are participating in our live experience.

We appreciate your understanding as we commit to creating the best possible environment for our participants, volunteers and community. Our Return to Events Updates can be found here. Please check this page for any changes.

SAA Safety & Policies:

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.

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


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


Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

12:45-1:00 pm: Volunteers Arrive

1:45 pm: Registration Opens! (Closes at 2:30)

2:35 pm: Welcome Program

2:50 pm: Mandatory Safety Talk

3:00 pm: .5 Mile Swim Start

3:30 pm: 2 Mile Swim Start

3:40 pm: 1 Mile Swim Start

4:30 - 5:00 pm: Swim Finishes

5:00 pm: Post Swim Meal Provided



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

1 Thunderbird Ln,
Lake Wylie, South Carolina 29701

Course Map



Olympians present at 2018 and 2019 Open Water Swim. 2021 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.


Charlotte Swims Against Cancer

When: September 18, 2021 from 8-12
Where: Mecklenberg County Aquatic Center
800 East Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.,
Charlotte, NC 28202

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.


Please watch our '2020 SAA-Charlotte Celebration Video' here!

2017 SAA-Charlotte Video:


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