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Welcome to the Swim Across America - Denver Open Water Swim. Swimmers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in our 3rd annual event hosted at Chatfield Reservoir. Swimmers can choose to register for 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 5K or family friendly Balloon Splash distances. All Proceeds go to Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

  • SAA Denver funds benefit two research projects at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children's Hospital Colorado. The acute myeloid leukemia (AML) research project, led by Dr. Amanda Winters, will bring new therapies into Phase 1 clinical trials for pediatric leukemia and help define better methods to detect leukemia cells in patients. The osteosarcoma research project, led by Drs. Kelly Faulk and Carrye Cost, will build upon the results of a canine combination trial and assess the safety and tolerability of a novel combination of drugs in pediatric and young adult osteosarcoma patients.


Welcome to the Swim Across America - Denver Open Water Swim. Swimmers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in our 3rd annual event hosted at Chatfield Reservoir. 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."

This event is limited to a maximum of 300 participants. Be sure and register early!

If you have any questions about SAA - Denver, please contact Nicole Vanderpoel or Jessica Reinhardt Vitcenda.

Swim Across America, Inc. (“SAA”) is a nonprofit corporation recognized by the IRS with federal tax-exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (Tax ID #22-3248256)


General Fundraising Requirement:

All swimmers are required to raise at least $400 by event day. Swimmers under 18 are required to raise $200 by event day.

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 your age. You can sign up for any of the four distances. WaveMakers get an exclusive WM gift and access to the WM tent on event day where they will have access to other perks and swag.

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
  • 1.0-Mile
  • 5K
  • Balloon Splash (a short distance swim for less experienced swimmers)

Balloon Splash:

The Balloon Splash is for swimmers of all ages who can swim approximately 100-200 yards. Participants can Register on event day with a $25 donation. No pre-registration needed. There is no fundraising minimum but we hope all participants are inspired to make waves with us and fundraise.

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 29th with a registration fee of $50
  • Register between May 30th and July 25th with a registration fee of $75
  • Register between July 26th and event day with a registration fee of $100

Online registration will close 48 hours prior to the swim.

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. There's also the option to attend a Swim Across America qualifying swim that will be held in July and August. Please email Jessica to sign up or for more information.


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 Policy, Rentals and Purchases:

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

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 10% discount on all Orca wetsuits with code SAA10.

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 Jessica Reinhardt Vitcenda.


Event Schedule is tentative and subject to change.

6:00 AM: Volunteer Check In

6:30 - 7:45 AM: Swimmer Registration/Check-in (“Day Of” Registration Closes at 7:30a)

7:00 - 7:30 AM: Olympian Autographs

7:30 AM: Welcome Program

8:00 AM: National Anthem

8:05 AM: Mandatory Safety Speech (all swimmers)

8:15 am: 5K Swim Start

8:20 AM: 1/2 Mile Swim Start

8:30 AM: 1 Mile Swim Start

8:45 AM: Balloon Splash

    ***Course closes for all events 10:30 am.

Post Event Celebration


Chatfield Reservoir

SAA - Denver is held at Chatfield Reservoir on the South Platte River south of Littleton, Colorado. The reservoir is surrounded by Chatfield State Park, a recreation area with boating, horseback riding and camping.

Chatfield Main Reservoir Water Temp on event day in 2018 was 72 degrees.

Course Map:

2016 Atlanta Map


GPS: The entrance near C-470 and Wadsworth has an approximate address of 9700 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, 80128. The address for the south entrance is 11500 N. Roxborough Park Rd., Littleton 80125.

General: The main entrance to Chatfield State Park is located one mile south of C-470 on Wadsworth. Make a left into the park from the traffic light (there will be a brown sign for Chatfield State Park). Please do not enter at Deer Creek Canyon Road. That is the entrance to the Army Corps of Engineers.

From south of the Denver metro area: Santa Fe (Highway 85) to Titan Parkway (approximately 14.6 miles north of Castle Rock). West on Titan to Roxborough Park Road. Take a right on Roxborough Park Road which leads directly into Chatfield State Park.


Parking is available adjacent to Chatfield Resevoir. Please only park in designated parking spaces. We encourage all participants to carpool when possible.


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.


All swimmers and volunteers must complete the waiver found here. Please bring it with you to the event and provide at check in.


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


Greenwood Athletic Club Swim to Fight Cancer - TBA

You may choose to participate in an Olympian swim clinic, organized workout or both. All ages are welcome.

Denver Open Water Swim Clinic to Fight Cancer - TBA

Join us for an open water swim clinic to raise money for cancer research. All ages are welcome, but participants must be open water friendly.


Accomplished open water and pool Swimmer Judy Nelson designed an amazing 6 week training program to swim a mile in open water for SAA-Denver leading up to our swim. Download and get ready to make waves!


If this is your first time participating in Swim Across America 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 - Denver
PO Box 370076
Denver, CO 80237

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


2016 Atlanta Map
L to R: Amanda Winters, MD, Carrye Cost, MD, Kelly Faulk, MD

Phase 1/1b Study of the Safety and Tolerability of Idasanutlin in Combination with Venetoclax in the Treatment of Pediatric Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Leukemias.

Dr. Winters’ research focus has been the study of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) which is a subtype of leukemia that has historically been difficult to treat. Her research goals are twofold: (1) to identify promising new drugs from lab research and adult clinical trials that may be developed into clinical trials for pediatric AML, and (2) to develop more sensitive and predictive methods to detect AML cells and determine response to treatment. Working in Dr. Craig Jordan's laboratory for the past 3 years, she has developed a highly sensitive test that can detect leukemia cells down to less than 1 in 10,000 normal cells in the bone marrow. With this work Dr. Winters has been collaborating extensively with Dr. Dan Pollyea, the Director of the Leukemia/Lymphoma Program at the University of Colorado and UCHealth. Some of the clinical trial agents in use for adults show tremendous promise for the treatment of AML in high-risk populations, and Dr. Winters is in the process of designing a Phase 1 clinical trial using a similar drug combination in pediatric AML and other childhood cancers.

Phase I/Ib Study of Losartan in Combination with Sunitinib in the Treatment of Pediatric and Young Adult Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Osteosarcoma.

The research of Drs. Faulk and Cost is focused on osteosarcoma, a malignancy of bone and soft tissue that predominately affects adolescents and young adults. Unfortunately, outcomes for patients with recurrent or refractory osteosarcoma are dismal and there is a huge demand for novel treatment regimens. Although no recurring, targetable mutations have been identified in osteosarcoma, a high degree of genomic instability exists and highlights immunotherapy as a potentially useful therapeutic strategy. Canine osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor in dogs and shares striking similarities in biology, genetics, risk for metastases, and prognostic factors with human osteosarcoma. Previous work, including some done by colleagues at Colorado State University (CSU) Flint Animal Cancer Center, has shown that losartan, a well-known anti-hypertensive drug, can enhance anti-tumor immunity by (1) inhibiting the recruitment of tolerogenic immune cells, (2) affecting tumor stroma, and (3) stimulating the anti-tumor response within the tumor microenvironment. Based on synergy seen with the combination, CSU investigators have conducted a trial combining losartan and toceranib (a multi-targeted anti-cancer agent) in dogs with osteosarcoma. The regimen was well-tolerated and half of the dogs at higher doses of losartan had partial response or stable disease for more than 8 weeks. Building upon the promising results of the canine combination trial, this study will assess the safety and tolerability of losartan and sunitinib (a human drug similar to toceranib) in pediatric and adult osteosarcoma patients, also evaluating for preliminary evidence of clinical response. The study will include patients 10-40 years old and will accrue patients at Children’s Hospital Colorado, the University of Colorado Cancer Center, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Overall, losartan and sunitinib are commercially available drugs with well-described toxicity profiles which have shown novel immunomodulating capability in osteosarcoma and thus may hold promise as potential therapies.


The Swim Across America - Denver Junior Advisory Board is a volunteer group of select high school students chosen by their coaches to lead their school’s swim teams in participation, team-building and fundraising. To support their fundraising efforts and teams, or for interest in the Junior Board, email Nicole.


2020 Olympians and Special Guests TBA.

Olympians and special guests present at the 2019 SAA - Denver swim:

    Ashley Twichell
    George DiCarlo
    Haley Anderson
    Kara Lynn Joyce
    Lindsey Mintenko
    Missy Franklin
    Scott Usher
    Susan von der Lippe


Midway through kinde­rgarten, Teagan was struggling with weig­ht gain, sleeping th­rough dinner and felt tired all the ti­me without any answe­rs. Still, she continued to go to school and was her usual bubbly self. Her school nurse thought something was wrong when she saw Teagan's pale face and told her parents she should be seen by a doctor. After numerous vis­its to the Urgent Ca­re and no answers, she went to the emerg­ency room at her loc­al hospital in Cheye­nne, Wyoming. She was immediately refe­rred to Children’s Hospital Colorado whe­re she received the devastating diagnosis of Acute Lymphobla­stic Leukemia (ALL) and began her treatm­ent four days later. Her liver and spleen were so enlarged that she waddled arou­nd and she could hardly get in and out of bed without help. After six weeks of treatment and physical therapy, Teag­an was in remission and then back to sch­ool within three mon­ths of her diagnosis. Teagan finished her treatment in April 2017, and is now ca­ncer-free. Teagan has always kept a posi­tive attitude even through two and half years of chemother­apy, nausea, and fat­igue. Her most memor­able experience at Children’s Colorado was playing in the ar­ts and crafts area during her chemo trea­tments. Today Teagan is a cheerful, outg­oing, healthy 5th grader, proud member of her local swim team (b­ackstroke is her fav­orite stroke!), participates in 4-H archery, and loves to play with her family's new puppy. She sees her physician, Dr. Amanda Winters, regul­arly for clinic visi­ts. Teagan’s Mom, Er­in, shared “Dr. Wint­ers was absolutely amazing and was with us the minute we ste­pped into the emerge­ncy room at Children­’s Colorado and made sure we knew what was happening every step of the way.” Teagan is grateful to be alive and wants to share her story with other cancer pat­ients so she can rai­se awareness and help other kids and let them know they are not alone.


In the middle of her junior year of high school, Lauren was struggling with intense stomach pains causing her to stop eating and resulting in almost 20 pounds of weight loss while she was doing two-a-day workouts with her high school and club swim teams. After numerous visits to a local Denver emergency room, she received the devastating diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The pain she was feeling was a tumor in her small intestine, causing her intestine to slide into an adjacent part of her intestine (called telescoping/intussusception). Lauren’s parents brought her to Children’s Colorado where she immediately started her treatment under the guidance of Dr. Kelly Maloney. “When my family and I arrived at Children’s Colorado, I immediately felt comfortable which is important when going through such a tough time. Dr. Kelly Maloney was very supportive of my love of swimming and allowed me to race one last time before chemotherapy started. She was great in treating me, making my family feel the best they could during my care and followed my health closely post-treatment.” After 12 weeks of grueling chemotherapy treatment, including the loss of her beautiful long hair (that she dyed bright blue!), horrible migraines, and medications that caused symptoms of shaky hands and blurred vision, Lauren was in remission. Her most memorable experience at Children’s Colorado was when her grandma made a surprise visit to the hospital for her 17th birthday and took her to get gelato every day she was there. Lauren finished her treatment in April 2013 and is now cancer free. Exactly one year and one day after her diagnosis, she was swimming faster than she ever had and accomplished her goal of making the sectional qualifying time for the 1-mile freestyle swim!

Today Lauren is an ambitious, passionate, and intelligent young lady who started her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University in August 2018. She aspires to be a marine animal veterinarian working with rescue, rehabilitation and release. Lauren swims because it has been the one constant in her life. She swam when she wasn’t sick, when she was sick and after she was sick. Swimming has always made her calm - very much like meditation. Lauren is grateful to be alive and hopes to inspire others through her story.


What started as knee pain turned into a nightmare for Markus and his family. After an X-ray revealed a mass in his leg, Markus was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a rare form of bone cancer. His family came to Children’s Colorado for a second opinion and immediately felt reassured that they would get the best care. To treat the cancer, doctors had to remove Markus’ leg at the knee. Markus opted to undergo a Van Nes Rotationplasty, a groundbreaking procedure that replaces the knee with the ankle joint from the amputated limb, which allows patients to retain more mobility

Markus’ surgery took place in July 2017. Although painful, the procedure was a success. Markus’ recovery was one of the most difficult parts of his journey, but he also remembers this time fondly. He was thrilled to wiggle his toes for the first time, and he passed the time by finding new ways to make his nurses laugh. After four days in the hospital, he was discharged the day of his 13th birthday. Once fearful, Markus is now stronger than ever. Markus was fitted for his prosthetic leg, and he’s looking forward to being able to run, jump and even play flag football again.

Markus continues to come Children’s Colorado for regular check-ups. During his many appointments, Markus loves meeting other cancer patients. He even formed an unofficial support group of fellow osteosarcoma patients, fondly nicknamed the “Osteo Club” by his nurses.

Today, Markus’ caregivers often ask him to speak to newly-diagnosed patients who are feeling helpless and afraid. Markus hopes to give other kids the same kind courage he found at Children’s Colorado.





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