02 May 2023

KEY WEST, Fla. — Solo swimmers, relay teams and even “mermaids” can embark on a one-of-a-kind in-water adventure Saturday, June 17: a 12.5-mile open-water swimming race in both Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean waters, on a course that circles the entire island of Key West.


Entrants in the annual College of the Florida Keys’ Swim Around Key West can register as solo competitors or in relay teams of two to six swimmers with or without fins. The race also is open to swimmers with monofins or mermaid tails.


Participants are to vie for awards in age categories ranging from 12 and under to 70 and over.


Sanctioned by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the 2023 swim is to feature a 7 a.m. final check-in and 8 a.m. start Saturday at Higgs Beach, located at 1000 Atlantic Blvd. on the Atlantic Ocean.


All solo swimmers and teams must also check in and pick up race packets between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, June 16, at the College of the Florida Keys pool on campus at 5901 College Road.


The 12.5-mile clockwise route around Key West takes participants past island landmarks including Mallory Square, the Southernmost Point marker and Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. Competitors are to end where they began at Higgs Beach.


Each swimmer or team must provide a support crew and kayak or boat to accompany them around the island. Lifeguards and kayaks will be positioned throughout the course for the safety of participants.


Swimmers who prefer a shorter challenge can participate in 800-yard, 1-mile, 2-mile and 6.2-mile (10k) competitions in the Atlantic waters off Higgs Beach. Following courses marked with poles or buoys, the shorter races are to start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.


According to event organizers, competitors might glimpse mermaids and mermen swimming the shorter routes as well as the 12.5-mile challenge.


?All participants must register by June 16. The entry fee for the 12.5-mile race is $160 per solo swimmer and $240 to $600 per relay team depending on the number of team members. Participants with a monofin or mermaid tail pay $140 per person. Entry fee for the 6.2-mile race is $80 per person and each shorter race is $40 per person. Discounts on solo swimmers’ fees are available for United States Masters Swimming and USA Swimming members.


Event information and registration: swimaroundkeywest.org or 305-809-3562

Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY

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