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Join the Charleston - Kiawah Island Open Water Swim and Fight Cancer with Swim Across America. Swimmers of all ages and levels are invited to take part in our third Kiawah Island charity swim. Your participation will help us "Make Waves to Fight Cancer" and raise money locally for cancer research at Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.


Swim Across America is excited to host the third Charleston - Kiawah Island charity swim this August 4th!

Join Olympians at this renowned scenic destination as a way to fight cancer by fundraising to support clinical trials and research locally at Hollings Cancer Center.

You're invited to participate in 1.5-mile and 0.5-mile swim options. 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. We welcome you to the Swim Across America family and our efforts to “Make Waves to Fight Cancer!”

If you have any questions about SAA - Charleston-Kiawah, please contact Brad Johnson.


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.

All participating swimmers receive an event shirt, a swim cap and a towel as part of the day's festivities.

Participate and Fundraise as an Individual, or on a Team

A person may elect to participate 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 minimum.

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 swim distances. WaveMakers get an exclusive WM gift and access to the WM village on event day where there will be other offerings.

Kids' Splash:

Swimmers ages 7-11 (exceptions made by the event director) are invited to join us for a Kids' Splash before the 0.5 milers start their swim. Kid swimmers will swim a short swim (about 50 yards) in the water to take part in the event. Kids must be able to swim 50 yards to enter the swim.

There is a $25 registration fee to take part in the Kids' Splash and we ask that you sign up ahead of time. The minimum fundraising requirement is $50 ($25 fee included). To register, click on the register on the home tab. Then you'll be able to select the Kids' Splash option.

Distance Options:

  • 0.5 Mile
  • 1.5 Mile

Registration Fees:

There is a registration fee that will be credited towards each swimmer's fundraising minimum. The registration fee will change as follows:

  • Register before May 10th with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between May 11th and July 12th with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between July 13th 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.


Schedule is tentative and subject to chance.

6:30: Registration Opens

7:30: Registration Closes

7:30: Olympian Pictures & Music

7:45: Speeches and Ceremony at Pavilion, Why I Swim

8:00: Safety Talk

8:10: 1.5 Milers Catch Shuttle

8:30: 1.5 Mile Start

8:45: 0.5 Mile Swimmers walk to start

9:00: 0.5 Mile Start

9:30-10:00: Swim Concludes

10:00: Enjoy Post-Swim Festivities with Friends & Family


Course Map

The direction of the course is dependent on the current the morning of the swim. The course will follow either one of these maps below on event day. Both courses will end at Boardwalk 18 that is closest to Night Heron Park. Friends and families of participants are encouraged to greet swimmers at that location and enjoy the beach after the swim. 

SAA Kiawah 2018 Course Map North copy.jpg

SAA Kiawah 2018 Course Map South copy.jpg

Kiawah Island

The swim takes place in the vast, beautiful and calm Atlantic waters off Kiawah’s stunning coastline.



Join Swim Across America for a fun pool swim with contests, relays and instruction from Olympians and the Swim Across America team. All participants will receive a swim cap, tattoo and opportunities to get SAA swag - bring friends and family!

This pool party is open to everyone and we encourage families to attend.
- The event will be at Night Heron Park on Kiawah Island. Find the SAA tent to sign in.
- The event is free for everyone to participate.
- Mention Swim Across America at the gate if you're coming from off-island to attend.


4:15p - Sign in for the pool party, get caps and tattoos

4:30p - Intro to Swim Across America from CEO Rob Butcher and Kristy Kowal, Olympian

4:40p - Group into 'divisions' to start off with a streamline distance contest

5:00p - 5:20p Games and relays

5:30p - Get pictures and sign caps with Kristy Kowal and enjoy some frozen treats!

Any questions can be sent here.



Support the fight against cancer with Swim Across America and Freshfields Village on the Village Green all evening and live music from 6-9 PM. The community fundraising event will include live music, Olympian appearances, an auction and participating discounts from stores and restaurants.



Olympian Kristy Kowal won the silver medal in the 200m breaststroke at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. She is also a 2 time World Champion (1998) in the 100 Meter breaststroke and on the 400 medley relay, where she also won the silver in the 200 meter breaststroke. Kowal helped her college, the University of Georgia (UGA), to two NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.


Silver medalist for Team USA in the 200-butterfly at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. NCAA champion in 1976 at North Carolina State University.



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
1000 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Ste 100 - 317
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

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


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 boats are able to communicate via both hand held and ship to shore radios. All swimmers are required to follow specific procedures to participate in the event. These procedures are designed to protect swimmers from injury and will be enforced by the Safety Director.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete this waiver to participate.


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



Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Night Heron Park
Kiawah Island Pkwy, Kiawah Island, SC 29455

Kiawah Island is a beach and golf resort located on a barrier island 15 miles (24 km) south of Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina

Charleston International Airport is approximately a 45-minute drive from Kiawah Island.

Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island is approximately a 20-minute drive from Kiawah Island.

Directions from Savannah Highway/US-17:

Turn onto Main Road. (Land mark Burger King/BP Gas Station on the left). Continue on Main Road for 15 miles. Main road will change names three times: Main to Bohicket Road, Bohicket Road turns into Betsy Kerrison Parkway. You will arrive at a roundabout. Stay in the left lane as you enter the roundabout and proceed 3/4 ways around then take the right on Kiawah Island Parkway.

Once on the island, you will pass through the security gate (left lane) and mention Swim Across America.

Follow Swim Across America and Kiawah signs to Night Heron Park.

Places to Stay:

Kiawah Island Golf Resort accommodations

Freshfields Village SAA Day Partners



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