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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 seventh Kiawah Island charity swim on Saturday, June 8th. 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.

6:30-7:30: Mandatory Check-in
8:30: Rolling start
10:00: Post Event Celebration
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Night Heron Park
Kiawah Island, SC 29455
Swim Options
.5 mile, 1.5 mile
SAA My Way (Virtual)
18+: $400
Under 18: $200

Welcome to the Swim Across America - Charleston-Kiawah Open Water Swim! Established in 2018, SAA - Charleston-Kiawah has raised over $400,000 for our beneficiary: Hollings Cancer Center. Thank you for your support of cancer care in the Charleston area.

Each year we are proud to host over 150 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 6th annual swim on June 8th at Night Heron Park!

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."


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 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.

Age Requirement:

Kiawah Island lifeguards and beach patrol are require an age requirement of 14 and up for both 0.5-mile and 1.5 mile options. For ages 14-17 - you'll need a coach’s or other's recommendation on ability. If you have any questions - please contact Brad Johnson.

Angel Swimmers

For those who are hesitant about swimming in open water, we are happy to provide an “angel swimmer” to swim the course alongside you. Angel swimmers are experienced open water swimmers who encourage you, keep an eye on you and support you during your swim. If you think you may benefit from having an angel swimmer, please respond yes to the question presented in online registration. You may also reach out to Brad Johnson to answer any questions.

Distance Options:

  • 0.5 Mile
  • 1.5 Mile

Same Day Pool Swim

Don't want to swim in the ocean? We have a pool swim for you! Pool swimmers will need to register at the Night Heron Park pavilion and then make their way over to the Night Heron Park pool and swim the distances of their choosing. Click on the 'Same Day Pool Swim' tab below to learn more.

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 March 11 with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between March 11 and May 12 with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between May 13 and event day with a registration fee of $100

Event day registration may still be available if space permits.

2024 Swimmer Packet:

The 2024 Swimmer Packet will be distributed the week of the event via email. The 2023 Swimmer and Volunteer packet can be found here for reference.


Swim Across America - Charleston-Kiawah supports cancer research and clinical trials at the Ferreira Lab at Hollings Cancer Center. The Ferreira Lab is dedicated to designing and developing engineered immune cell therapies for autoimmune disease, cancer, and aging.

Read the 2024 Swim Across America - Charleston-Kiawah impact report here.

In late 2021, SAA - Charleston-Kiawah grant recipient Dr. Haizhen Wang was awarded a five-year, $344,000 per year grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to pursue her early investigator studies in leukemia. Prior to receiving NCI funding, Wang's research was supported by $65,000 in grants from Swim Across America.


SAA - Charleston-Kiawah funds have supported the Hollings Cancer Center at Medical University of South Carolina since 2019.


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-Charleston-Kiawah 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 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.

Angel Swimmers

Angel Swimmers are experienced open water swimmers who are willing to accompany a nervous swimmer throughout the course. Angel swimmers must be able to swim all distances and help out if the swimmer needs. To register as an angel swimmer, choose “volunteer” and then select Angel Swimmer. The local planning team will have final approval of angel swimmers.

Questions about volunteering? Check out our SAA Volunteer Page or contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Jana Chanthabane.



Don't want to swim in the ocean? We have a pool swim for you! Pool swimmers will need to register at the Night Heron Park pavilion and then make their way over to the Night Heron Park pool to swim.


June 8, 2024


Check-in at the same location as the open water event and then make your way to the pool!

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


*Tentative and subject to change.*
6:30 - 7:30 AM: Registration/Check-in
8:00 AM: Pool Lanes Open for SAA
10:00 AM: Pool Lanes Close for SAA


All swimmers are required to raise at least $400 by event day. Swimmers under 18 are required to raise $200 by event day. Swimmers who raise $1000, will be awarded WaveMaker status and receive the exclusive WaveMaker prize.

How to Join:

Register by clicking on the register button above and selecting 'In-person Swimmer'. You may sign up as an individual, create a team or join a team. You can even join a team with open water swimmers! Then select your 'Same Day Swimmer' participation type and follow the steps to register.


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 $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
Attn: Brad Johnson
2234 Mother of Pearl Dr.
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466

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.

6:30: Registration Opens

7:00: Olympian Pictures

7:15: Meditation Session in Park

7:30: Registration Closes

7:30: Speeches and Ceremony at Stage

8:00: Mandatory Swimmer Safety Talk at Stage

8:10: 1.5 Milers Catch Shuttle

8:30: 1.5 Mile Start

8:45: 0.5 Mile Swimmers walk to start / Pool swimmers to pool

9:00: 0.5 Mile Start

9:30-10:00: Swim Concludes

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

Noon: Olympian Pool Party at Night Heron Park Pool


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 Island’s stunning coastline.


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



Every year, Swim Across America hosts a fun pool swim with contests, relays and instruction from Olympians Janel Jorgensen McArdle, Jenny Thompson and the Swim Across America team. All participants will receive a swim cap, tattoo and opportunities to get SAA swag - bring friends and family! 2024 Olympian guests will be announced once they are confirmed.

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.


12:15p - Sign in for the pool party, get caps and tattoos

12:30p - Olympian Intro to Swim Across America

12:40p - Group into 'divisions' to start off with a streamline distance contest

1:00p - 3:20p Games and relays

1:30p - Get pictures and sign caps with Olympian and enjoy some frozen treats!

Any questions can be sent here.



Freshfields Village is a proud sponsor of Swim Across America - Charleston-Kiawah swim.

The Swim Across America team will be sharing our mission at the Freshfields Village Music on the Green concert series from 6-9PM. Come and join us and support SAA when shopping at stores and times below!



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

SAA - Charleston-Kiawah Aerial Video:


If you have any questions about SAA - Charleston-Kiawah, please contact Jana Chanthabane.



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