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Welcome to the Swim Across America - Richmond Open Water Swim.
Swimmers of all ages and levels are invited to take part in our 4th annual Richmond benefit swim in the James River. Your participation will help us "Make Waves to Fight Cancer" and raise money for cancer research, prevention and treatment.

Thank you for making our 2022 swim a success! You can still register as a virtual SAA My Way participant and fundraise to support local cancer research this year.

7:30am: Venues open
8:30am: Registration Closes
9:00am: Swimmers and Floaters start
9910 Cherokee Rd
Richmond, VA 23235
Swim Options
1-Mile Swim
1-Mile Float
SAA My Way (Virtual)
$200 Minimum

Welcome to the Swim Across America - Richmond Open Water Swim and Float! Established in 2019, SAA - Richmond has raised over $150,000 for our beneficiary: VCU Massey Cancer Center. Thank you for your support of cancer care in Richmond.

Each year we are proud to host over 100 swimmers, volunteers, spectators, and supporters, as well as Olympians from near and far at our charity swim. We are so excited to have you join us at the James River for our 4th annual swim and float on August 27th!

Whether you are a veteran swimmer, you're looking to do your first open water swim, or you just want a fun relaxing float down the river, we welcome you to help us "Make Waves to Fight Cancer."

If you are interested in helping with the planning for the 2022 swim, please contact Jay


Proceeds from the swim will support clinical trials and cancer research at VCU Massey Cancer Center.

Read about the specific cancer research projects your funds are supporting with our 2020 Impact Report.


Participation Options:

  • 1.0-Mile Swim
  • 1.0-Mile Float
  • SAA My Way - Virtual

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 May 27 with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between May 28 and July 29with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between July 30 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.

General Fundraising Requirement: $200 for in-person participants

All swimmers and floaters are asked to raise at least $200 by event day and will receive an event shirt, towel and post event food for participating.

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.

SAA My Way Virtual Option

Join SAA-Richmond virtually to support cancer research at VCU Massey Cancer Center. Choose your activity to help us beat our total mileage logged in the 2020 SAA Coast to Coast challenge, while making a difference in the fight against cancer in your community! Register as an SAA My Way participant with a $50 donation and receive a goodie bag with tshirt, sticker and button. Fundraising is encouraged but not required.

Swim as an Individual, or on a Team

A person may elect to participate alone, or be part of a team. Many colleagues 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. All team members are still required to meet their individual fundraising minimums based on their age, distance or WaveMaker status as noted in the prior sections.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here.

Wetsuit Policy, Rentals and Purchases:

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

Online Purchase: Orca is offering a 15% discount on all Orca wetsuits with code SAAPARTICIPANT15.


How does the Float Work?

Floaters should register online by clicking the 'Register' button at the top of the page, then selecting 'In-Person Swimmer' and following the steps below.

From there you can choose to:

  • “Create a new team”
    Choose this option if you would like to fundraise as a team and intend to float together either as a group of individual floats or one BIG float.
  • “Re-create a past team”
    Choose this option if you’ve done this before and you simply want to register your team again for this year.
  • “Join an already established team”
    Choose this option if someone has already created a team and you simply need to join that team.
  • “Participate as an individual”
    Choose this option if you are going solo

From there you will select '1 Mile Floater' as your Participation Type. Once you are registered, Swim Across America will provide you with various options to assist you in your fundraising efforts.

On event day, you will have two options:

BYOF Bring your own float
Fundraise to gain access to several different SAA provided floats.

Fundraise as an individual - $100
Choose: Variety of Options

Fundraise as an individual - $200
Choose from:

  • Llama
  • Unicorn
  • Slice of Pizza
  • Others coming soon

Be the first team of 2 floaters to Fundraise: $500
Choose: Giant Unicorn (seats 2)

Be the first team of up to 4 floaters to Fundraise: $1000
Choose: Floating Beach Cabana (seats 4)

Be the first team of up to 6 floaters to Fundraise: $1500
Choose: Giant Flamingo (seats 6-8)

Once you or your team reach the designated fundraising ask, we will notify you by email in order to make your selection.

If you Bring Your Own Float (BYOF)

You will head to the start venue located at 10610 Cherokee Rd to drop off and inflate your float. This area will open at 7:30am and will have inflation stations available. Please give yourself plenty of time depending on the size and time it will take to inflate your float. Once you have set up your float, you can proceed to the Check-In/Finish Venue to park, check-in and get your SWAG.

If you are using an SAA-provided float

If you have accomplished the fundraising goal to use an SAA-provided float, that float will be set up for you and there is no need for you to go to the start location first. You can proceed directly to the Check-In/Finish Venue to park, check-in and get your SWAG.

At 8:45am, shuttles will begin transporting all float participants up to the start.
At 9am we will begin launching floats for the trip down river.


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-Richmond 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.

Questions about volunteering? Check out our SAA Volunteer Page or contact our Volunteer Coordinator Wynne Reece.


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, #389
Charlotte, NC 28210

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.


COVID-19 brings a new dimension as we create our safety protocols. Each of our charity swims will abide by local and state guidelines. Please check this page for general guidelines, as well as amendments pertaining to your swim. If or when guidance and requirements change, we will provide updates to our registered participants through email communication and on our website.

If you are sick, feeling sick, have been exposed to someone who has been sick, or someone who has been exposed, do not travel or attend the event.


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.


9910 Cherokee Rd.
Richmond, VA 23235

Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

7:30am: Venues open

  • Check-In/Finish Area (9910 Cherokee Rd) For pre-event check-in
  • Start Area (10610 Cherokee Rd) for float drop-off, inflation, and staging

8:30am: Check-In closes for swim AND float

8:35am: Mandatory Safety Meeting for all participants

8:45am: Shuttles begin departing Check-In/Finish area to take swimmers to the start.

9:00am: Swim AND Float Starts

9:45am: Post Event Food service begins

10:00am: Crazy Wig After Party Starts

  • SAA Richmond Event Presentation
  • Live Music from “The Royal We” begins
  • Food & Drinks
  • Silent Auction & Raffles

1pm: Event Ends


Swim Location:

9910 Cherokee Rd, Richmond, VA 23235

Places to Stay:

The following hotel is centrally-located for swimmers attending this event:

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Richmond-Midlothian
1021 Koger Center Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23235
(203) 358-8400

Course Map

2022 Richmond Swimmer Information Packet coming soon!


What will the water temperature be?

Although water temperature in the James can vary greatly depending on the prevailing weather pattern in the weeks leading up to the race, a 10-year review of water temps in the James River shows an average of 79-86 in Mid- August.

What will the current be like?

This is harder to predict, but we chose the date based on historically favorable water conditions that time of year. We expect the fastest swimmers to finish the 1-mile swim in about 20-minutes and anticipate all swimmers will be out of the water in about 40-mintues.


Celebrate an inspirational day with us! Our “Crazy Wig After Party” will be filled with live music, food, drinks, and Silent Auction/Raffle. Prizes and Giveaways will be awarded to:

  • Top Fundraiser - Individual/Team
  • Most Participants - Team
  • Most Volunteers - Volunteer Group
  • Top Mileage Accumulator - for SAA My Way Challenge and Event Day activities
  • Best/Craziest Wig
  • Best/Craziest Float

Announcing CRAZY WIG NIGHT at the Diamond with the Richmond Flying Squirrels! Proceeds from this event on Friday, June 24 will go to Swim Across America-Richmond with VCU Massey Cancer Center as our local beneficiary!

The sister of SAA- Richmond's Event Director, Jay Peluso, was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer less than 2 months ago. Instead of having people shave their head in solidarity while she undergoes chemotherapy, Michele says she wants to LAUGH and see people in fun wigs. Her son, Chris Wright, is a pitcher for the Flying Squirrels (#56) so the idea was born to have an event with the Squirrels to raise money for cancer research and have FUNN and GO NUTZ while wearing crazy wigs! Use this link to purchase your tickets to ensure your money goes to SAA.


Start A Pool Swim

Interested in raising money for SAA - Richmond, 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!


If you have any questions about SAA - Richmond, please contact Jay Peluso.


In-Kind Sponsors


  • NCA SEF logo