donner lake swim

Mark your calendars!
Donner Lake Open Water Swim is Saturday, August 15th, 2015


-2015 Open
-2015 Kayak escort
-2015 Wetsuit

Registration will open June 1st at We will send you a direct link when we get closer to registration time. Registration fees will increase by $5 this year the new fee is $50.
Our event sold out in 8 days last year. There is no waiting list. All entries are non-transferable non-refundable. So, register early!

We have some exciting news that we would like to share with you. We have been chosen for the 1-3 Mile Open Water National Championship event in 2016. The date will be August 13th, 2016.

34th Annual Donner Lake Open Water Swim, Saturday August 16, 2014




There is no waiting list or race day registration. We want to provide a safe and great experience for our swimmers and for that reason we have chosen to allow a maximum number of swimmers. Our registration will open June 1st next year. The date for the 2015 swim has not been determined by Pacific Masters Swimming, we should know by January.

If you have further questions please email


2013 Results

2012 Results

2011 Donner Lake Swim Results:

Sanctioned by: Pacific Masters Swimming for USMS, Inc. # 384-W005

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. Wave #1 will start at 8:30 for swimmers without personal escorts and Wave #2 will start at 8:40 for swimmers with personal escorts. 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 after your wave start.

ENTRIES: This event is open to 375 swimmers. Non-refundable, non-transferable entry fees are $45 per person if you pre-register; $85 per person, for registration on race day. Registration opens June 1st. Registration for this event will only be available on Club Assistant software. No mail in entries will be accepted. Online registration closes Thursday, August 14th. Your 2014 USMS membership will be verified during online entry. If the Donner Lake Open Water Swim sells out before race day, there will be NO race-day registration.

CHECK-IN: Check-in and race day registration 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 prior to August 2nd. Limited numbers will be available for purchase on race day.

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

PERSONAL ESCORTS: Pacific Masters Swimming is partially implementing United States Masters Swimming rule 303.3.1. Pacific Masters Swimming will allow the use of non-motorized personal escorts for the Donner Lake Open Water Swim, but it has been determined that swimmers with non-motorized personal escorts will not be eligible for Pacific Masters Swimming Open Water points or prizes. Swimmers with a non-motorized personal escort will start the race in wave #2, 10 minutes after swimmers without personal escorts. When you sign up for the Donner Lake Open Water Swim you must indicate if you will have a personal escort. On race day you and your personal escort will receive the same race number. The race number must be worn on your personal escort’s upper back and displayed for the duration of your swim. Personal escorts will be positioned on the beach (north end) to prevent obstruction of the wave #1 start. Personal escorts will be notified when to enter the water, approximately 5 minutes after the start of wave #1. Personal escorts must be nonmotorized. Life jackets and “man in water” flags are required on all craft.

RACE RESULTS: Race results will be in 3 categories. Category 1 suits (suits made from textile materials), Category 2 suits
(wetsuits or technical suits - Speedo Lazer, Blue 70, etc.) and Personal Escort (those swimmers with personal escorts).

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 Category 1 woman and man to finish (18+ and 40+) and the top three finishers in each Category 1 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 lunch catered by Men Wielding Fire for all participants. Delicious BBQ chicken or vegetable sandwich and salad will be served. Ice cream and soda will be available for purchase. Swimmers may purchase lunch(s) for non-participants for $10 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).
The Silver Legacy Resort Casino is offering the following rates: $49.99 for Thursday and Sunday, and $89.99 for Friday and Saturday (not including taxes). To reserve a room, please call 800 687-8733 or copy and paste this link:;R10M14;?

Refer to the reservation code R10M14. Please note that these rates will go up 30 days prior to the race, so you need to book early. The Silver Legacy is in downtown Reno in the casino district north of the Truckee

River. It is part of a three hotel casino complex that includes the Eldorado and the Circus Circus. For more information, check out

SAFETY: Bright colored caps will be provided and must be worn during the swim. The course will be patrolled by safety craft and non-motorized individual escorts are permitted. 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, provided that, 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


RACE DIRECTOR: Laura (Hanson) Harsh 775-843-1477


Frequently Asked Questions
Donner Lake Open Water Swim

Q:  What do I do with my belongings since the swim starts at one end of the lake (east end) and ends in another (west end)?
A:  After you register go directly to the body and bag marking area.  You will be given a white bag with your race number on it.  Place your belongings in the bag.  There will be a designated area on the beach to place your bag.  We will bring it to the finish for you.  If you do not place your bag in the designated area, the bag will be thrown out.  Sierra Nevada Masters is not responsible for lost or stolen items.  It is highly recommended that you not place any valuables in the bags.

Q:  Where do I park?
A:  You can park at West End Beach parking lot located at the finish, at the start of the race (east end of the lake) on the south side of Donner Pass Road, or for a fee at the Donner Museum parking lot located near the start.  Sugar Bowl Ski Area provides a shuttle that runs from 6:30 to noon between the start and finish areas.  If you park at the finish (West End Beach), make sure to give yourself adequate time (from arrival at the West End Beach parking lot to registration may take up to 45 minutes) to register.  Registration closes promptly at 8:00am.

Q:  Are there T-shirts for sale?
A: Shirts and sweatshirts may be pre-ordered with registration before July 20th.  Limited numbers will be available for purchase on race day. 

Q:  Who gets a free lunch?
A:  All pre-registered swimmers receive a free lunch following the race. 

Q:  Can I swim unofficially?
A:  No!  There are several reasons for this.  First, if you are not registered we have no way of knowing that you are in the water and thus cannot account for your safety.  Second, if you swim unofficially, you are not insured by United States Masters Swimming for any difficulty you might have during the swim.  There are 364 other days that you can swim in Donner Lake.  Please do not choose August 7th to do it.  Pick another day!  It is very important to us that we run a safe and fun event for everyone.  In order to do this, all swimmers must be registered for the event.

Q:  Can I wear a wetsuit?
A:  Yes, you can wear a wetsuit.  Swimmers who wear wetsuits are welcome to participate.  Wetsuit swimmers are not eligible for official times or awards.

Q:  Do I need to show proof of current United States Masters Swimming (USMS) membership to participate in the Donner Lake Open Water Swim?
A:  Yes.  This event is sanctioned by USMS and requires that all participants provide proof of current registration, whether they pre-register or register on race day.
Check in and Race day registration –

    • If you are currently registered with USMS, you must have your USMS card or a copy of you USMS card with you.  Otherwise, a $3.00 look-up charge for verifying your USMS registration must be paid prior to registering for the event.
    • If you are not currently registered with USMS, you must register prior to registering for the swim.  The fee is $40.00 and your check is made payable to Pacific Masters Swimming.  This will be a separate check from your registration for the swim.

Donner Lake Swim

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Presented by Sierra Nevada Masters Swim Team in association with Lakeridge Swim Team

Donner Lake Swim 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