Take the next step in your swimming

Open Water Races

​Swim Clinics

Pre-Race Social and Check-in

Our pre-race social and early check-in will take place on Friday, April 13 from 4:00-6:00 PM at the Daiquiri Deck on St. Armand’s Circle, Lido Key. You can check-in early and get your goodie bag and t-shirt. You can also enjoy a FREE drink provided by the Daiquiri Deck, order a great meal, and socialize with your friends and family. This is a great time to meet your pilot, so make sure you communicate with them about your plans to attend the social.

Race day morning check-in and body marking will take place under our tents immediately prior to the race.

Race Venue Location & Directions

Location of race: Lido public beach parking and beach access

Address: 400 Ben Franklin Drive, Lido Key, FL

Directions: Interstate 75 to Sarasota exit #210 (Fruitville Road). Take Fruitville Road west to US 41. Turn left (south) onto US 41 and continue John Ringling Blvd. (789). Turn right onto John Ringling Blvd. (789) and go over the bridge. Continue to St. Armand’s Circle going around the circle and exit the circle on John Ringling Blvd. Go to Ben Franklin Drive and go South to 700 Ben Franklin Drive. 

Race day water temperature 72-80 F.

Registration is open

Safety on the Course & the 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.

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.

Relay team 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 165 entries accepted!

Solo - $200 - Register NOW!
2-person relay - $225 - Register NOW!
3-person relay - $250 - Register NOW!

Online registration will be open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 2, 2018 or when 165 entries are received. NO RACE DAY ENTRIES. Online entries are paid by credit card to "ClubAssistant.com Events."

PLEASE NOTE that there are NO REFUNDS: If you can’t participate in the race for any reason or there are dangerous weather conditions and we have to cancel the race, 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:

  • Pre-race social and check-in at the Daiquiri Deck on St. Armand’s Circle – FREE drink coupon for each swimmer and pilot​
  • Hired police boat, other motor boats, jet skis, and safety pilots for course monitoring
  • Excellent post race meal for each swimmer and pilot
  • FREE post race beer
  • Swim Around Lido Key T-shirt for each swimmer and pilot
  • Finishers medal for all swimmers finishing the swim
  • Custom official race pint glass for each swimmer and pilot
  • Goodie bag for each swimmer and pilot with cool stuff from our sponsors

Watch this video!

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

Pilot and Kayak Rentals

Pilots (escort kayakers)

SOLO swimmers: We are sold out of our 35 pilots meaning that we cannot provide a pilot for you. You must provide your own pilot.

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 Lido Key Race on Saturday, April 14, 2018. 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.

Paradise Adventures: Call 941-275-2971 
(has tandem kayaks)

Island Style: Call Laurel at 941-954-1009

Siesta Key Bike & Kayak: Call 941-346-0891 

Silent Sports Outfitter: Call Tony at 941-966-5477

4th Annual 
​Swim Around Lido Key
7-mile Open Water Swim
Saturday, April 14, 2018 
​Lido Key Beach, Sarasota, FL

Weekend Event Schedule


4-6 PM: Pre-race social & check-in at the Daiquiri Deck (see below)


8:00-9:00 AM: Swimmer/Pilot check-in, body marking, pilots staging kayaks on the beach

9:00-9:30 AM: MANDATORY pre-race safety meeting for ALL swimmers and pilots

9:30-9:55 AM: Pilots launch kayaks

9:45-9:55 AM: Swimmer final check-in and proceed to start area

10:00 AM: Male solo swimmers race start

10:05 AM: Female solo swimmers race start

10:10 AM: Relay teams race start

1:00 PM: Post race food and beer social

2:30 PM: Awards ceremony

3:30 PM: Social ends and cleanup begins

About Lido Key

A gorgeous barrier island adjacent to Sarasota, Lido Key boasts some of Sarasota’s most beautiful beaches. With St. Armand’s Circle, Lido Key is a hub for excellent shopping and fine dining. Bring your family and friends to enjoy a great race and a special weekend exploring Lido Key and all that Sarasota offers. See http://www.visitsarasota.org for more information about Sarasota.

Event Directors

David Miner: 941-545-9709

Steve Butler: 941-376-3524

Race Hotels

The official race hotel is the Lido Beach Resort Hotel and the Holiday Inn Lido Beach with discounted race rates available. The Lido Beach Resort hotel is directly adjacent to the race venue and the Holiday Inn is just down the street- Make your reservations early as the rooms are first-come, first-serve and they will sell out! All reservations must be made by March13, 2018 to receive the race discount.​​

Lido Beach Resort hotel reservations:
To make a reservation online, click here.

Or call (800) 441-2113 today to book your hotel. When calling, ask for the "Swim Around Lido" discounted race rate.

Holiday Inn hotel reservations:

Call (800) 892-9174. When calling, ask for the "Swim Around Lido" discounted race rate.​​


Swimming Saves Lives Foundation


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

Awards & Results

  • Finishers medal for each swimmer and relay team who completes the swim. 
  • Solo swimmers: Awards will be given to the top five male and top five female swimmers
  • Relay teams: Awards will be given to the overall top five 2-person and 3-person relay teams.
  • All awards will be presented during the post race social under our tents.
  • Results will be available on this website shortly after the race.


Florida LMSC for USMS Sanction #148-W001

Florida Swimming for USA Swimming Official Approval #: pending

Venue map - Click on the map to download a PDF copy!

About the Race

This is a 7-mile open water swim race around the beautiful island of Lido Key. 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 in the Gulf of Mexico on the Lido public beach area and takes you north along the beautiful beaches to New Pass inlet where you’ll swim by large waterfront homes and Mote Marine Aquarium up to City Island where you’ll turn right heading west, south-west to Coon Key in the Sarasota Bay waters. Popular Bird Key will be to your left as you make your way to Big Pass and the beautiful Lido Park. Exiting Sarasota Bay waters through Big Pass, you’ll turn right and head north in the Gulf along sparkling white sand beaches to the finish line at Lido Beach where you started.