donner lake swim


-2016 National Championships Results

2016-1 to 3 Mile Open Water National Championship
2.7 MILES         SATURDAY, AUGUST 13, 2016 8:30 AM
Water temp. : 65-68° Truckee, CA. Altitude: 5933 ft.
Sanctioned by: United States Masters # 386-W003

Green Long Sleeve Hoodie Women's Tank Women's Tank Purple
Long Sleeve Tie Dye Hoodie T Shirt Men's Tank


-2015 Open
-2015 Kayak escort
-2015 Wetsuit

Sanctioned by: United States Masters # 386-W003

LOCATION: Donner Lake, Truckee, CA. Located 35 miles west of Reno, NV and 100 miles east of Sacramento, CA. via Interstate 80. The start is at the east end of the lake by Donner Memorial State Park; the finish is at West End Beach.

WARNING: Participants should be adequately trained for this competition, which combines high altitude, cool water temperatures, and a lengthy swim. Previous experience in similar conditions is highly recommended.

COURSE:  Straight, point-to-point, 2.7 miles.  Expect water temperature 65 – 68 degrees.  Altitude is 5933 ft.

SWIM PROCEDURES: Pre-race instructions at 8:15 AM followed by a beach start.  The race will start at 8:30.  A 2 hour 30 minute time limit will be STRICTLY enforced.  If you fail to finish the race within the time limit, you will be disqualified and removed from the water.  There are NO EXCEPTIONS; you will be removed from the water after 2 hours and 30 minutes.

ENTRIES:  This event is open to 400 swimmers.  No refunds, transfers or deferrals for your entry!  Entry fees are $50 per person if you pre-register; $85 per person, for registration on race day.  Registration opens June 1st at 8am.  Registration for this event will only be available at, All swimmers must sign the USMS waiver liability form.  No mail in entries will be accepted.  Online registration closes Wednesday, August 10th.  If the Donner Lake Open Water Swim sells out before race day, there will be NO race-day registration.

CHECK-IN: Check-in will begin at 6:30 AM and close at 8:00 AM. Pre-race instructions will take place at 8:15 AM.

SHIRTS: Shirts and sweatshirts may be pre-ordered with registration.  Limited numbers will be available for purchase on race day. 

TIMING: Timing for this event will be provided by Lynn Mentzer and Dave Nolte.

SWIMWEAR: Only category 1 suits will be allowed as defined U.S. Masters Swimming Rule book, rule number 303.7, page 69 ( 

A Swimwear shall include only a swimsuit, cap or caps (including those made of neoprene when the water temperature is not greater than 78 degrees Fahrenheit) and goggles. Swim caps shall be defined as head gear conforming to a traditional swim cap design and shall not extend to protect the neck and shoulders. Nose clips, ear plugs, wristwatches and grease are also allowed.

B The swimmer shall wear only one swimsuit in one or two pieces. All
swimsuits shall be made from textile materials. For both men and
women, the swimsuit shall not cover the neck and shall not extend past
the shoulder nor below the ankles.

No category II swimwear/wetsuits or swimmers with personal escorts will not be allowed at the swim.

DIVISIONS: Masters divisions 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, etc.; male and female. No entrants under 18 years of age are permitted.

AWARDS: Special awards will be presented to the first woman and man to finish (18+ and 40+) and the top six finishers in each age group. All entrants will receive an official race cap and post-race refreshments and lunch.

PARKING: This is a point-to-point swim with parking available in designated parking areas at the start and at the finish.  At the start of the race, you may park at the Donner Museum parking lot for a fee or on the south side of Donner Pass Road (absolutely NO parking on the north side of Donner Pass Road).  At the finish, you may park at the West End Beach parking lot.  A shuttle will operate between the start and finish from 6:30 AM to noon. Spectators must pay the West End Beach admission fee.  Animals are not allowed in the park.

PICNIC LUNCH: SNM will provide post race recovery refreshments and a catered lunch.  Lunch will include hamburger, veggie burger or hot dog with chips, fruit salad and drink.  Swimmers may purchase lunch(s) for non-participants for $12 each at the time of registration.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Accommodations in the area are limited, so make your reservations early! Campers should call 800-444-PARK for reservations for Donner Memorial State Park (located at the start of the race).

SAFETY: Bright colored caps will be provided and must be worn during the swim. The course will be patrolled by safety craft. Life jackets and "man in water" flags are required on all craft.

EQUIPMENT: The use of fins, pull buoys or other swimming devices shall not be permitted except that soft hand paddles may be used as a prosthesis, if they do not present a safety hazard to the other swimmers.

WARM-UP:  A designated warm-up area will be provided. All swimmers wishing to warm-up prior to the race must do so in the designated warm-up area.

RACE START:  All swimmers must be out of the water at 8:15 am.

KAYAK: If you want to kayak for the race, contact Stephanie Lerude at  If you would like to volunteer at the event please email


CO-RACE DIRECTORS: Ryan Evans and Laura Harsh


Frequently Asked Questions Donner Lake Open Water Swim

Q: Where do I park?

A: You can park 1) at West End Beach parking lot located at the finish end. If you choose this option, please be sure to give yourself adequate time (up to 45 minutes from arrival at west end to registration at east end via the shuttle); 2) at the start end of the race (east end of Donner Lake) on the south side only of Donner Pass Road; or 3) for a fee, at the Donner Museum parking lot located near the start.

Q: With the start in one location (east end) and the finish in another (west end), what do I do with my belongings?

A: After you register, go directly to the body & bag marking area. There you will be given a bag with your race number on it. Place your belongings in the bag and bring your bag to the designated ‘competitor bag’ area on the beach; we’ll take it to the finish for you. Please keep in mind that 1) bags are fairly small, so please travel light, with only essentials and no valuables; 2) all of your belongings must fit in the bag - belongings left out of competitor bags, lying loose on the beach, will be discarded; and 3) Sierra Nevada Masters is not responsible for lost or stolen items, although the utmost care and respect for your personal belongings will be given at all times.

Q: Can I do the Donner Lake Swim unofficially?

A: No. Under no circumstances is an ‘unofficial’ swim appropriate, allowed, or advised. For your safety and the safety of all the competitors, only registered swimmers are permitted to participate in the Donner Lake Swim. Unofficial / unregistered / imposter swimmers are not insured by United States Masters Swimming, cannot be supervised by the race staff, and are a liability to themselves and to others. Please choose another day to swim across the lake (there are 364 choices). The safety of our athletes is very important to us. Thank you for your consideration.

Q: Can I wear a wetsuit?

A: No. Wetsuits are not permitted in the Donner Lake Swim. Please be advised that this is a NEW ruling beginning in 2016. With this in mind, we encourage all participants and prospective participants to consider the challenging nature of the Donner Lake Swim: 2.7 miles, with water temperatures varying from 65-68°, at 5,933 ft. Proper fitness and preparation, along with a hearty breakfast, a dose of guts, and respect for one’s limitations are advised.

Q: Are there t-shirts/sweatshirts for sale?

A: Yes, carefully designed merchandise to commemorate the Donner Lake Swim can be pre-ordered at the time of online registration, with a limited number of items

available for purchase on race day. Swimmers, we recommend that you make use of the pre-order option to assure that you get the sizes and quantities you desire.

Q: Is there really such a thing as a ‘free lunch’?

A: Indeed. All registered swimmers (and volunteer staff) of the Donner Lake Swim receive a free lunch following the race. Thank you for your participation in our event. We hope you have a great swim and a super fun day.

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Donner Lake Swim Results:

-2016 National Championships Results

-2015 Open
-2015 Kayak escort
-2015 Wetsuit

-2014 Open Age Group
-2014 Kayak Age Group
-2014 Wetsuit Age Group

-2013 Open Age Group
-2013 Wetsuit Age Group
-2013 Kayak Age Group

-2012 Open Age Group
-2012 Wetsuit Age Group
-2012 Kayak Age Group

- 2011Overall results .xls
- 2011 Wetsuit results .xls

- 2010 Overall results .xls »
- 2010 Age group results .xls »
- 2010 Wetsuit results »

- 2009 Overall Results .xls »
- 2009 Age Group Results .xls »
- 2009 Wetsuit Results »

- 2008 Results .xls »
- 2008 Wetsuit results »

- 2007 Results .xls »

- 2007 Results (wetsuit) .xls »

- 2006 Results (male) .xls »
- 2006 Results (female) .xls »
- 2006 Results (wetsuit) .xls »

Previous years (scanned documents . pdf)

- 2005
- 2004
- 2003
- 2002
- 2001
- 2000
- 1999
- 1998
- 1997
- 1996
- 1995
- 1994
- 1993
- 1992
- 1991
- 1990
- 1989
- 1988
- 1987
- 1986
- 1985
- 1984
- 1983
- 1982
- 1981
- 1980