Race Hotel

The official race hotel
is the Postcard Inn On
The Beach. There are
a block of 15 rooms
available with a great
room discount and no
​resort fee. When making a reservation, tell them you are with Swim Without Limits. You MUST CALL THEM or email them to book your room. Don't wait too long as once the rooms are gone, they're gone! There are many other hotels in the area like the Tradewinds Resort if you can't get a room at the Postcard Inn.

Postcard Inn: 6300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706

Call now to make your reservation: 800.237.8918 or email reservations@postcardinn.com

To receive the discount: Tell them you're with Swim Without Limits

Race Venue Location & Directions

​Fort De Soto Park
3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715​

Shelter 14 is where race check-in and all pre-race and post race activities will take place. The finish line is directly in front of Shelter 14. Swimmers should proceed directly to Shelter 14 race day morning.

Pilots should go directly to the boat ramp to offload their kayaks in a designated area. Volunteers will be there to help and provide security for the kayaks. Pilots should then drive to Shelter 14 and park their vehicle there. Pilots and swimmers will be transported to the boat ramp for the race start.

Rules, Details, & Important Information (READ THIS!)

  • ALL PILOTS MUST REGISTER AS A PILOT! Relay teams cannot have a dedicated pilot.
  • You must be able to complete the swim in UNDER 5 HOURS. This means if there is ZERO current, you should be able to swim 1 open water mile in about 42 minutes. If you’re not within the final 1/4-mile of the swim within 5 hours, you may be pulled by the motorboat pilots and shuttled to the finish line.
  • All swimmers and pilots MUST attend the pre-race safety meeting, which will be held on race day morning just prior to the race starting.
  • The race will follow the English Channel swimming rules. This means no swimsuits below the knees or shoulders. No suits that provide any type of buoyancy. No triathlon suits. No wetsuits. No other swimming aids.
  • KAYAKS for race: Kayaks should be at least 12-feet in length and capable of handling choppy water conditions. The small, recreational kayaks cannot be used in this race! Having a rudder on your kayak can greatly help you paddle straight even in windy and choppy conditions. Please make sure you have an adequate kayak or you may not be allowed to start the race! Safety for both our swimmers and pilots is our utmost priority! If you are using a sit-in type kayak, you MUST have a hand pump for pumping water out of the kayak.
  • All swimmers and pilots must provide their own nutrition (water, electrolytes, calories) for the entire race and have a means for securing it to the kayak. There are no water stations out on the course.
  • Relay teams: You can swap swimmers at any time during the race and as many times as you want during the race.
  • Relay teams: You CANNOT have a dedicated pilot (kayaker) for your relay team. Each team member must take turns swimming and paddling, meaning that each person swims a portion of the race and paddles the kayak a portion of the race.
  • Relay teams: 2-person relay teams should use a single person sit-on-top type kayak that is at least 13-feet in length. 3-person relay teams should use a single tandem sit-on-top type kayak that can accommodate the weight of two team members plus all of your other gear.
  • Relay teams: The pilot exiting the kayak to swim must maintain contact and control of the kayak until the swimmer makes the exchange by hand-to-hand touch. At this moment, the finishing swimmer becomes the pilot and the only team member permitted contact with the kayak.  The pilot may then use the sea bottom if needed for assistance to enter the kayak and proceed as team pilot.
  • All pilots must have a whistle and wear an approved PFD while paddling.
  • Each pilot must have a cell phone secured in a dry bag for use in case of an emergency
  • You cannot hang or rest on your pilot's boat even when feeding.
  • No use of lower extremities to rest on or push off of sea bottom to gain an advantage.
  • Swim caps and body marking will be provided which must be worn throughout the race.
  • Persons allergic to latex should plan to wear a silicone cap beneath their race cap or bring their own brightly colored silicone cap. 
  • It is advised that you complete at least a 2- to 3-hour training swim and practice feeding every 30-minutes prior to attempting this race!
  • If you’re doing a relay and don’t have experience paddling a kayak, it is highly recommended that you spend time learning how to paddle a kayak safely.
  • If you’re a solo swimmer, make sure you communicate with your pilot prior to race day so that you’re both on the same page about your race plans. Don’t wait until race day to communicate! If we’re providing a pilot for you, we’ll be sending both you and your pilot an email introducing each other. You’ll then have their email address for further communication.
  • If you have any questions about your ability to swim this event, please contact the race directors


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Pilot & Kayak Rentals

Pilots (escort kayakers)

We STRONGLY encourage solo swimmers to bring their own experienced kayaker to escort them. All pilots MUST register as a pilot whether we provide one for you or you provide your own!

If you're a solo swimmer and need us to provide a pilot for you, the cost is $65 and is paid during registration. $60 goes directly to the pilot and $5 is used for processing fees we incur.

NOTE: We can only guarantee 35 pilots. Once we hit 35 requests, we can no longer guarantee we will have a pilot for you. We will recruit as many pilots as possible, so you can always check with us to see if we secured more than 35.

Rental kayaks (Need to rent a kayak for the race?)

If so, rentals are available from our kayak sponsors. Give one of them a call and they will take care of your needs! Tell them you're doing the Swim Around Fort De Soto Race on Saturday, October 28, 2017. They will deliver the kayak to Lido Beach on race day morning and pick it up at the end of the race. Rental rates are $65 per kayak.

Pinellas Kayak Rentals: 16 available delivered and picked up from the race - Call Denis Wahls at 727-482-3884

Siesta Key Bike & Kayak: 16 available delivered and picked up from race - call Scotty at 941-346-0891

Paradise Adventures: 16 available delivered and picked up from race - ​Call 941-275-2971

Race Cancelled - 2nd Annual, Swim Around Fort De Soto
Saturday October 28, 2017


About the Race

This is a 10K+ (6.5 mile) open water swim race around three
sides of the beautiful park and island chain of Fort De Soto. Each solo swimmer will have a pilot (kayak escort) to provide safety, navigation, and nutrition to the swimmer. Swimmers can enter as a solo swimmer, 2-person relay, or 3-person relay. Relay teams must take turns swimming and paddling, meaning that each person swims a portion of the race and paddles the kayak a portion of the race. Relay swimmers cannot have a dedicated pilot!

The course starts at the Fort De Soto Boat Ramp and heads west through Bunces Pass and into the Gulf of Mexico. The course then turns south along the island passing beautiful white sand beaches to the pier and around the point of the island. The course then heads east along more white sand beaches finishing at Shelter #14 in Fort De Soto Park.​​

Swim Without Limits strives to find great race venues and put on the best races possible for all athletes who share our passion. With registrations being 45% lower than last year and with increased costs this year, it’s with much disappointment that Swim Without Limits must cancel Swim Around Fort De Soto 2017 on October 28. We’re not willing to compromise on the safety, integrity, or quality of our events just to have a race and unfortunately, we aren’t able to move forward with this year’s race.

Swim Without Limits will continue to scope new and unique open water swim venues looking for a great location and swim course that will keep you coming back year-after-year. We’re already looking at possible new locations; so stay tuned.

Again, we apologize for having to cancel Swim Around Fort De Soto 2017, but with the increased costs and lack of interest, we just can’t feasibly put on this race.

Thank you for all you support and understanding, and we look forward to seeing you next year at Swim Around Lido Key or at a possible new race.


Florida LMSC for USMS Sanction #147-W004

Florida Swimming for USA Swimming Official Approval #pending


Event Directors

David Miner 941-545-9709

Steve Butler 941-376-3524

Safety on the Course & Course Map

Water safety will be provided by the escort pilots on kayaks, powerboats, jet skis, a police boat, and an EMT that will be patrolling the course. Each powerboat will be flying a small orange flag and each jet ski rider will have an orange mark on the back of their life jackets for identification. Pilots will be instructed on how to seek assistance. An EMT will be available on the water and safety personnel will be instructed on how to assist a distressed swimmer and trained medical personnel will be available to assist in emergency situations. The MANDATORY pre-race meeting will review common communication signals for pilots (and swimmers) to use and recognize out on the course.

In case of inclement weather, unusually adverse surf conditions, or any other factors that may arise, an event committee composed of the event directors and safety personnel may modify the starting time or cancel the event.

Click on the map to download a PDF copy. 
​You should laminate this map for the race!​​

About Fort De Soto Park

The largest park within the Pinellas County Park System, Fort De Soto park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands (keys). Fort De Soto was named America’s Top Beach for 2009 by Trip Advisor. In 2005, “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Beach. There are over  7-miles of waterfront, including almost three miles of beautiful white sandy beach. The park is about 20 minutes from downtown St. Petersburg. For more information, go to http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/05_Ft_DeSoto.htm

Race day water temperature 72-78 F (average temperature over the past 10 years is 76 F)

Results & Awards

  • Results will be posted on this website following the event.
  • Finishers medal for each swimmer who completes the swim. 
  • Awards will be given to the overall top 5 male and top 5 female solo swimmers, top 5 2-person relay teams, and the top 5 3-person relay teams.
  • The awards will be presented during the post race social.

Race Day Timeline

8:30-10:00 AM: Swimmer/Pilot Check-in, body marking, and pilots staging kayaks at the boat ramp

10-10:30 AM: Mandatory Pre-race safety meeting for all swimmers and pilots

10:30-11 AM: Swimmers will be bussed to the race start at the boat ramp

11-11:45 AM: Pilots launch kayaks and proceed to start area

11:45-11:55 AM: Swimmer final check-in

12 PM: Race start (this later start time is due to the tides and wanting you to have a push at the start)

3-5 PM: Post race food and social

4 PM: Awards

5 PM: Swimmer finish cutoff time

​5:15 PM: Event ends

Eligibility & Registration

The race is open to all members of U.S. Masters Swimming and all ATHLETE members of USA Swimming.  Adults who are not current members of U.S. Masters Swimming may pay for a one-day membership during the online entry process; the one-day membership fee is $22.00 (in addition to the event entry fee). One-day memberships are NOT available for swimmers under the age of 18.

Only the first 150 entries accepted!

Solo - $200 -
2-person relay - $225 -
3-person relay - $250 -

Online registration will be open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, October 16, 2017 or when 150 entries are received. NO RACE DAY ENTRIES. Online entries are paid by credit card to "ClubAssistant.com Events."

PLEASE NOTE: If you can’t participate in the race or there are dangerous weather issues, there are no refunds, transfers, or deferrals for any reason. The cost of the event is fixed and the money has been spent come race day.

Entry fee provides the following:

  • Parking pass for race day in Fort De Soto Park
  • Hired motor boats, jet skis, police boat, and safety pilots for course monitoring
  • Timing chips for accurate race results
  • If you need a kayak, see Kayak Rentals below for details on renting a kayak for the race
  • Excellent post race meal for each swimmer and pilot​ catered by Tijuana Flats
  • Swim Fort De Soto T-shirt for each swimmer and pilot
  • Swim Fort De Soto swim cap
  • Finishers medal for all swimmers finishing the swim
  • Special gift for each swimmer and pilot
  • Goodie bag for each swimmer and pilot with cool stuff from our sponsors

Take the next step in your swimming

Open Water Races

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