Open swim lessons set to resume in July

Many events may have been canceled this summer, but the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation is planning to host a series of open swim workshops for small groups of people.

The workshops will invite eight swimmers to test out the open waters, either at Goss Lake or at Seawall Park.

The freshwater workshop is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. Due to popular demand, there are two saltwater workshops scheduled the next day, July 12.

The 1-4 p.m. class is already full but there are spots available for a 4:30-7:30 p.m. workshop.

Participants must know how to swim and be at least 18 years old.

A wetsuit is required for the Seawall Park session but is optional for the Goss Lake session. Swim caps, goggles, ear plugs and a towel are also encouraged.

There will be no certified lifeguards on duty. Experienced open water swimmer Matt Simms will be teaching both classes.

Simms has swam more than 120 miles around Whidbey Island since Jan. 1 of this year.

“We live on an island, we’re surrounded by water and it can be very intimidating to think of swimming in it,” Simms said.

“Whidbey Island is an amazing place to swim,” he added.

Although the workshops run for three hours, Simms assures people that they will not be spending the full amount of time in the water. Group conversations and individualized and teaching is just as large of a part of the classes as the swimming.

Due to insurance policies, the sessions are not currently open to children but several have shown interest in open swimming. Simms said the foundation is trying to find a way to get youth insured for future workshops.

To register for one of the classes, email

The registration fee is $40 and assumes US Master Swimmer, or USMS, membership. There is an additional $27 USMS one-event fee for non-USMS members. A single $27 USMS one-event fee will cover both sessions for a non-USMS member who attends both sessions.

All proceeds support the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation in its goal towards building a community pool, among its other goals.