The Safest Swim Start in Triathlon

Participants will be allowed to self-determine at which time they begin the swim portion of Cleveland Triathlon. Our only constraint is you must start within the time frame of the distance in which you are competing, be it Olympic, MegaSprint, Sprint, SuperSprint or Youth.

The most important feature is SwimStream® will allow you to swim with family, friends, members of your triathlon club, co-workers, charity teams from the same company, or family members want to swim together. We want swimmers to have maximum comfort and relaxation when entering the lake. Age or gender differences do not matter for our starts, only the distance you are swimming.

Those with the fastest anticipated swim time will be encouraged to start in the earliest grouping (or stream).

For the Olympic Distance, faster time would be below 22 minutes; for the Sprint and MegaSprint it would be below 11 minutes; for the SuperSprint 4 minutes.

The swim chute will be no different than our previous construction or other swim starts you've seen. Swimmers should line up in their appropriate anticipated time. Note, just like a running event, we will not force someone in a specific time/pace. It is on the honor system.

Once a stream enters the start chute, swimmers will move toward the end of the chute, cross the timing mat and proceed directly into the water. Similar to a funnel. Your individual time starts when you cross the SwimStream® timing mat. We will have streams of approximately 40 swimmers each (e.g., 40 swimmers in the under-22-minute Olympic swim stream) and as earlier streams of swimmers exit the water to the finish. Lifeguards and our swim coordinators will assist in controlling the flow of the swimmers (like turning on a spigot).


Lifeguards, wetsuits, water temperature and buoys.

Over 50 members of our crew make this safe and fun.

Lead by Jane Clarke, our Swim Director for over 25-years and a fantastic crew of kayakers, paddleboarders, divers, boats, on land spotters, and the U.S. Coast Guard, we are fortunate to have a very experienced and integrated team.

In addition, the U.S. Coast Guard manages and closes the channel to any maritime traffic during the Cleveland Triathlon. Only swimmers and our safety team will be on the course during the event.

Wetsuits and typical water temperatures.

Wetsuit allowed, but not required. Typical water temperatures in July are in the middle 70’s in Lake Erie and very comfortable for swimming. Many people wear wetsuits for buoyancy and that can help you swim faster. If you are going to do so, please make sure to buy a properly fitted wetsuit and get comfortable swimming in it before race day.

We will have big buoys that will line the different distances of the course that will help to guide you in the water on your proper course. Each swimmer will be issued a swim cap to wear (so we can see you in the water!). Most swimmers wear goggles, but they are not required.

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at info@TheClevelandTriathlon.com and we very much encourage you to attend our popular Course Talks at the University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center Expo the day before the race, on July 20th.


Photos and Images from the Cleveland Triathlon

Packet Pick-Up at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center

Packet Pick-Up at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center