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Welcome to the Swim Across America - Rhode Island Open Water Swim.
Swimmers of all ages are invited to take part in this annual charity event at scenic Roger Wheeler State Beach in Narragansett. Proceeds support cancer research at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.

8:00-9:15 am: Check-In
9:30 am: Ceremony
10:15 am: Swim Begins
Roger Wheeler State Beach
100 Sand Hill Cove Road
Narragansett, RI 02882
Swim Options
1.0 mile, 0.5 mile, 0.25 mile,
Splash & Dash, SAA My Way (Virtual)
$250 min. for 0.5 & 1.0 mile
$100 min. for 0.25 mile
$25 min. for Splash & Dash

Welcome to the Swim Across America - Rhode Island Open Water Swim! Established in 2010, SAA-RI has raised over $2.5 million to fund cancer research at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.

Each year our Rhode Island charity swim attracts over 700 swimmers and volunteers who support our cause, including Olympians such as Rhode Island native Elizabeth Beisel. Join us for our 15th annual swim on September 7th at scenic Roger Wheeler State Beach.

New this year: We’ve added a fun, shallow-water Splash & Dash for kids aged 12 and under who would like to participate in a shorter-distance event.

This popular event sells out, so register early to secure your spot!

Whether you swim or volunteer at our live event or fundraise via SAA My Way, thank you for contributing and "Making Waves to Fight Cancer."


Fundraising Requirement:

For the 0.5 and 1-mile swims, all swimmers must raise $250 by event day. For the youth 0.25-mile swim, swimmers should raise $100 by event day. For the Kids Splash & Dash, fundraising is optional but encouraged.

WaveMaker Status: $1,000 minimum:

WaveMakers go above and beyond the call of duty by raising at least $1,000. Anyone ― swimmers, volunteers, SAA My Way participants ― can achieve WaveMaker status, regardless of their age. WaveMakers receive special recognition and an exclusive WM gift on event day. Learn more about WaveMaker Status here.

Swim as an Individual or on a Team

Registered SAA-RI swimmers and volunteers and SAA My Way participants may elect to fundraise as part of a team or without a team affiliation. Masters, age-group, high school, and college teammates and alumni often form fundraising teams. Work colleagues, friends, and family also form teams in honor or memory of a loved one.

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 Douglas Sayles to answer any questions.

Distance Options:

  • 1.0 mile. 50-minute cutoff. Ages 13 and older.*
  • 0.5 mile. 30-minute cutoff. Ages 13 and older.*
  • 0.25 mile. 15-minute cutoff. Ages 9 to 12 in one heat.*
  • Splash & Dash. Ages 12 & Under.*
  • *A coach’s note or the event director’s approval is required for all swimmers aged 12 & under. Parental approval is required for all minors.

Registration Self-Donation:

We ask swimmers to kickstart your fundraising by letting your supporters know that you are personally committed to the mission of SAA. The registration self-donation is a 100% tax deductible donation credited towards your fundraising minimum.

For the 1.0 and 0.5-mile distances:


  • Before June 10, the registration fee is $50.
  • Between June 10 and August 11, the registration fee is $75.
  • Between August 12 and September 1, the registration fee is $100.

For the youth 0.25-mile distance and Kids Splash & Dash, the registration fee is $25.


This popular benefit swim sells out. Register early to secure your spot!


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here.

Wetsuit Policy, Rentals and Purchases:

Water temperature can vary. Please read our full wetsuit policy and tips on our Policies Page.

Online Wetsuit Purchase: Orca is an SAA wetsuit partner offering a 20% discount and entry to win a $500 gift card when you shop through our SAA Orca link.

2024 Swimmer Packet:

The 2024 Swimmer Packet will be distributed via email approximately five days before our event. It contains important information about the schedule, what to expect and what to bring. For reference, find the 2023 packet here.


SAA - Rhode Island proceeds benefit gynecological and breast cancer research at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. Click here to read our beneficiary’s impact statement.

Shannon Sullivan, MSW, LICSW, CCM
President & Chief Operating Officer


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-Rhode Island 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 SAA-RI 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 and help ensure our events run smoothly. Even if you don’t swimmer, you can still help us fight cancer as a volunteer and fundraise too! If you’re ready to volunteer, click the Register button and select the Volunteer participation type.

Land Volunteers

Land Volunteers staff all aspects of our event on land, including set up, swimmer check-in and check-out, beach operations, merchandise, hospitality, and clean up.

Water Volunteers

SAA-RI’s volunteer and paid water safety personnel monitor the swimmers and course, communicate any issues to event officials, and respond if/as needed. We do not enlist uncertified kayakers or paddleboarders for this event. But we do need experienced surf-certified lifeguards (paid) and volunteer angel swimmers. Angel swimmers are strong, experienced open-water swimmers who can accompany nervous swimmers around the course. To register as an angel swimmer, choose “volunteer” and then select Angel Swimmer. The event directors must approve all angel swimmers.

Questions about volunteering? Check out our SAA Volunteer Page or contact SAA-RI Event Co-Director Douglas Sayles.


If you are a first time participant or just need some fundraising tips, click here for directions on using the participant center, emailing donors, sharing on social media and downloading 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 $1,000. Anyone ― swimmers, volunteers, SAA My Way participants ― can achieve WaveMaker status. WaveMakers get special recognition and an exclusive WM gift on event day. Learn more about WaveMaker Status here. 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
c/o Douglas Sayles
270 Bellevue Ave., #1069
Newport RI 02840

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.

Swimmer Wetsuits & Equipment:

Our Rhode Island Open Water Swim allows wetsuits but does not allow swimmers to use paddles, fins, snorkels, buoys, kick boards, or headphones. The only exceptions are the orange safety buoys we provide to angel swimmers who the event director assigns to swim alongside individual swimmers or pods of swimmers.

Wetsuits: Orca is an SAA wetsuit partner offering a 20% discount on all Orca purchases with code SAA20.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here.

If you have other safety or weather-related questions, please consult our Policies page or contact the event director.


Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

8:00 - 9:15 am: Swimmer check-in in the parking lot

9:30 am: Celebration ceremony

10:00 am: Swimmer Instructions / Safety Briefing

10:15 am: Swim begins, waves starting every few minutes

11:50-Noon. Swim Course Closes. Closing Remarks. Volunteers Help Clean Up.

1:00 p.m. DJ Music Ends


Roger Wheeler State Beach

The Rhode Island Swim will take place at scenic Roger Wheeler State Beach in beautiful Narragansett, Rhode Island, approximately 50 minutes south of Providence.

The Course

One-mile and 1/2-mile courses

New RI course map

1/4-mile course

New RI course map


100 Sand Hill Cove Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882


From Providence:

Take Interstate Rte. 95 South, to Rte. 4 South, to Rte.1 South, to Rte. 108 South, follow signs to Roger W. Wheeler State Beach.


SAA-Rhode Island is fortunate to have a wonderful team of Olympians who support and attend our events year after year.

Craig Beardsley (1980) Beardsley is a 2022 International Swimming Hall of Fame inductee. He was a Team USA qualifier in the 200-meter butterfly for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, which the U.S. and 65 other countries boycotted. He held the world record from 1980 to 1983 and was a two-time NCAA champion in the 200M butterfly, and he received eight All-American honors while swimming for the Florida Gators. Beardsley has supported Swim Across America since its inception, and currently serves as SAA’s Vice President of Partnerships.

Elizabeth Beisel (2008, 2012, 2016) Born and bred in Rhode Island, Beisel is a three-time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016) who has won nine medals in major international competition for Team USA, including a silver and a bronze in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. Her teammates elected her co-captain of the 2016 Olympic Team. Beisel won NCAA individual championships in the 200-yard backstroke (2012) and 400 IM (2013) and received eighteen All-American honors while swimming for the Florida Gators. She has supported Swim Across America since 2010, and in 2021 became the first woman to swim from mainland Rhode Island to Block Island, in the process raising over $150,000 for cancer research.

Alex Meyer (2012) Meyer’s myriad national and international swimming accomplishments include representing Team USA in the 10-kilometer open water swim at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, winning the gold medal in the 25 km swim at the 2010 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in a classic mano-a-mano duel with the reigning world champion, and winning the USA Swimming National Open Water Championships in 2011 (10 km), 2014 (5 km), and 2015 (5 km). He was also a two-time All-Ivy League swimmer at Harvard University. Meyer is a longtime Swim Across America supporter and volunteer, and currently helps direct our Boston and Rhode Island events.

Clara LaMore Walker (1948) Lamore Walker was a native Rhode Islander and devoted Swim Across America supporter until her passing in 2021 at age 94. She represented the United States in the 200-meter breaststroke at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London and, later in life, set 484 Masters Swimming national records and 184 Masters world records in her respective age groups. She was inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame in 1982, and in 1995 became the first Masters swimmer to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.



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


If you have any questions about SAA - Rhode Island, please contact Doug Sayles.



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