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Welcome to the Swim Across America - Houston Open Water Swim!
The 3rd annual SAA - Houston swim will be held on October 16, 2021 at our new venue: Lake Longhorn. We welcome swimmers of all ages and skill levels to help us fight cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Center!


7:00 am: Registration Opens
7:40 am: Welcome Program
Lake Longhorn
2391 Gun Range Rd.
League City, TX 77573
Swim Options
1/2 mile, 1mile, 5K
SAA My Way (Virtual)
18+: $400
Under 18: $200





Welcome to the Swim Across America - Houston Open Water Swim! Established in 2019, SAA - Houston has raised over $240,000 to our beneficiary: MD Anderson Cancer Center. Thank you for your support of cancer care in Houston.

Each year we are proud to host over 250 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 3rd annual swim at Lake Longhorn!

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 - Houston supports cancer research and clinical trials at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Hear directly from the doctors you are supporting about why your funding is critical to their research below.

Swim Across America - Houston benefits adult and pediatric brain tumor research and clinical trials at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Brain cancer is the second most common cancer in children and a rare cancer in adults, but it’s very difficult to treat and has poor survival at any age. Researchers at MD Anderson are working to find better treatment options, including new immunotherapies, for this historically underfunded cancer type.

Dr. John de Groot

John de Groot, M.D., is a professor of Neuro-Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and an active swimmer. He also serves as director of the Neuro-Oncology Fellowship Program and is helping develop the next generation of neuro-oncologists. His laboratory research focuses on glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive brain cancer in adults, and he serves as principal investigator for several glioblastoma clinical trials.

“Brain cancer doesn’t have as much awareness or funding as many other cancer types, so support from foundations like Swim Across America is crucial to fund research and make progress,” de Groot says.

Click here to view Dr. de Groot's profile video.
Click here to view Dr. de Groot's lab website.

Dr. Richard Gorlick

Richard Gorlick, M.D., is the division head of Pediatrics at MD Anderson Cancer Center. His team includes a group of doctors and scientists dedicated to childhood brain tumors. A childhood cancer survivor himself, Dr. Gorlick personally understands the importance of cancer research and has made it his life’s work to help kids with cancer.

“Too many parents lose their children to brain cancer each year. Support from Swim Across America will help our efforts to improve treatment and survival for childhood brain cancer,” Gorlick says.

Click here to view Dr. Gorlick's profile video.
Dr. Gorlick had his own pediatric cancer experience, read more about his story here.


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 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 Mile
  • 5K

**Swim course cut-off time for the 5K is 2 hours 30 minutes.

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 16 with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between July 17 and September 20 with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between September 21 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.


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 15% discount on all Orca wetsuits with code SAAPARTICIPANT15.

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 Jenna.

Swimmer Packet:

The 2021 Swimmer Packet will be released soon - for reference see the 2019 HOUSTON SWIMMER PACKET


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-Houston 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 Jenna Stevenson.


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,
8508 Park Road,
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 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.

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.


Schedule is subject to change.

7:00 am: Registration Opens!

7:40 am: Welcome Program

8:25 am: 5K Swimmer Safety Meeting and Group Photograph at Start

8:30 am: 5K Swim Start

8:35 am: 1 Mile Swimmer Safety Meeting and Group Photograph at Start

8:40 am: 1 Mile Swim Start

8:45 am: ½ Mile Swimmer Safety Meeting and Group Photograph at Start

8:50 am: ½ Mile Swim Start

Ceremony to follow. Bring the whole family!


Swim Location

Lake Longhorn
2391 Gun Range Rd.,
League City, TX 77573

Site Map

2016 Atlanta Map


Coming Soon!

Places to Stay:

Hampton Inn and Suites Houston/League City
2320 Gulf Freeway South, League City, TX 77573
To book now click HERE.


These Olympians have participated in SAA - Houston in recent years - stay tuned for this year's attendees:

    Mark Barr
    Cammile Adams
    Sandy Neilson
    Ricky Berens
    Craig Beardsley

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


If you have any questions about SAA - Houston, please contact Jenna Stevenson.