September 1, 2017


 Welcome Letter

Greetings 10K Swimmer!

The TEAM Wellness and Prevention Horsetooth Open Water 10K Swim is just a few days away. Hopefully you are well prepared and starting your taper! The Race Committee, many volunteers, the community of Fort Collins, and the State of Colorado are looking forward to hosting you at the mandatory Pre-race Orientation and Dinner on Saturday September 9 and the Swim on Sunday September 10.

Congratulations! You are one of a select few who will be undertaking the challenges of this 10K swim in Horsetooth Reservoir. The swim has a number of features that make it quite special. The reservoir is nestled in the beautiful foothills just west of Fort Collins, Colorado. The altitude of 5430 feet (1655 meters) and the sometimes-chilly water present challenging conditions to flatlanders. Visit our website where you will find a lot of helpful information.

We swim 6.2 miles from north to south and end up at the South Bay swim beach which has a pavilion, showers, picnic tables, etc.  More last-minute details on this route will be presented at the mandatory pre-race dinner Saturday night.

The Race Committee looks forward to meeting you and to your successful swim! Any last minute questions? Email the Committee at

Current Status of Horsetooth Reservoir

The Fort Collins area and northern Colorado got a lot of rain this spring and Horsetooth Reservoir had plenty of water all summer.  However, water levels are lowering rapidly in order to repair a pipe later this fall. However we don’t expect levels to be as low as during the “dam repair” year.  We will provide an update on levels and temperatures at the dinner, including how they may affect the start and finish.  As of Sept 1st, the temperature was a balmy 71 °F and 71% full.  We do not anticipate any significant course changes due to the water level. The Swim Committee anticipates the event will be held without issue.

If the Horsetooth Open Water Swim is canceled, there are no refunds. We hope you appreciate that circumstances are such that we have many sunk costs at this point. And, we know that you understand this is a fundraising project for TEAM Wellness and Prevention, a social service agency devoted to preventing drug and alcohol abuse. No individuals receive any compensation. Your fees will be put to good use.

Mandatory Pre-Race Dinner and Orientation

Hilton Hotel Fort Collins, 425 West Prospect, Fort Collins, CO. Two blocks west of College Avenue. Adjacent to Colorado State University.

5:00 – Check in for swimmers and paddlers starts.

5:30 – Dinner is served, you’ll be seated with your paddler(s)

6:00 – Mandatory Orientation: serious stuff and fun and games

The pre-race dinner is MANDATORY for first-time swimmers in our 10K and for anyone using a paddler/craft provided by the Race Committee. To clarify: if you are swimming this 10K swim for the first time, OR you are using one of the paddlers provided by the Race Committee, the meeting Saturday night is MANDATORY.

Having said that, if you have completed the Horsetooth 10K swim previously AND you are providing your own paddler, you may opt to not attend the dinner. But, if you will NOT be attending the meeting Saturday night, we will provide a webinar which you must attend to get the critical information. For those NOT attending the dinner, you are required to attend the webinar at 7:00pm MDT Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Webinar Logistics

The purposes of the webinar (and pre-race orientation and dinner) are to describe the course, clarify the transportation logistics, emphasize safety concerns, and go over any special instructions for the race this year! We will also answer any questions you have about the event.

All swimmers and paddlers are encouraged to participate in the webinar.

If you have any questions, please contact us at .

Subject: Horsetooth 10K Swim 2017 Webinar

Date and Time: September 5, 2017 7:00 PM US/Mountain (GMT-0600)

  1. Dial-in Number (United States): (515) 739-1485

Access Code: 960122

International Dial-in Numbers:

  1. Join the Online Meeting:

Online Meeting Link:

Online Meeting ID: joe_bakel

Parking and Transportation Services

Swimmers and paddlers will park at South Bay parking lot. Swimmers and paddlers will be transported to Satanka Cove by bus and kayaks/canoes will be transported by truck to the north end where the swim will start. The only exception is the case where you have a friend who will deliver you and/or your paddler/craft to Satanka Cove by 6:00 a.m. Parking is limited and no vehicles can be left at Satanka Cove for the swim. If you are not using our bus and truck service, you are responsible for getting to the start!

We must have a firm count to know whether or not you and/or your paddler will ride the bus and/or whether or not you want your craft transported to the north end. You must reply to our survey (in a separate email) to reserve these services.

More details on location and time for these services will be provided at the mandatory pre-race dinner Saturday night, September 9. You MAY NOT want these services. If you have a friend who will take you and/or your paddler/craft to the north end, you need NOT use our transportation services. But, you must complete the survey and say whether or not you will use these services.


Answers to Some Recent Questions

  1. What swim suit is allowed?

 Please read the RULES on the website:

Also, no headsets, snorkels or other aids.

  1. How do spectators watch this exciting event?

Start: This will be really spectacular with over 80 swimmers and paddlers at the wave starts. Spectators may watch the start from the picnic area above the boat ramp at Satanka Cove.

During the race: After the start, leave Satanka Cove and drive south along the east side of the reservoir. There are pull-outs where you may stop and watch the swimmers moving south.

  1. What’s the water temp?

Water temperature in Horsetooth Reservoir at this time of year is usually in the low 70s, upper 60s. We hasten to state that the temperature can drop if the water czars decide to put in new water from the high country. Sorry…no guarantees for race day!

  1. What if there is bad weather?

In the unlikely situation that severe weather on Sunday forces us to cancel the race, there will be no refunds of fees. We have not canceled in 18 years, so….

  1. What specific route must swimmers follow during the race from north to south along the western shore of Horsetooth Reservoir?

The route is simple to follow: swim along the western shore from north to south! Near the beginning, the course may take you into one of the coves to ensure the swim is a full 6.2 miles. Caution: do not swim into any other cove along the western shore. The prescribed route will be described in detail and illustrated on maps at the orientation meeting Saturday evening. In general, for your safety you must stay within 10 boat lengths from the western shore of the reservoir.   Do not wander out into the reservoir!

  1. How will I get my morning clothes to the finish line? Do I have to swim back to the start area to retrieve my stuff?

We will provide secure transport of your stuff to the finish area. Just have a SMALL backpack or gym bag with your name on it, say with a luggage tag. No, you do not have to swim back to the start area! J  We will also have a basket for you to put your shoes in just before you enter the water.  Your shoes will be waiting for you at the end of the race, by the water’s edge.

  1. I’ll be tired and hungry when I finish! Any food available?

Yes, free food and drinks for swimmers and paddlers.

Directions to the Venues

All of the following directions begin at the intersection of College Avenue (US 287) (north/south) and Mulberry Street (CO-14) (east/west). This is one of the main intersections in central Fort Collins.

10K Mandatory Dinner/Meeting, Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W Prospect Ave

South on College Avenue for 1 mile, west on Prospect for 0.3 miles.  Hotel is on your left.  Parking gates will be open (no charge).

South Bay Parking for 10K Swimmers, Swimmers Providing Own Paddlers, and Other Paddlers

You can get to the loading area for transportation to the start two ways:

  • From College and Mulberry, drive south on College for 3 miles, turn west (right) on Horsetooth Drive, drive west for 2 miles, turn south on Taft Hill and drive south for 0.5 mile, turn west on County Road 38E. Once you are on CR 38E headed west, drive up the hill approaching the reservoir. At the top of the hill you will come to Spring Canyon Dam. Stay on CR 38E to the south, circle around the south end of the reservoir, enter the South Bay entrance (on the right), drive north past the parking area for the boat trailers. DO NOT PARK IN THIS AREA FOR STORAGE OF BOAT TRAILERS! Proceed past the boat ramps and park in the furthest parking areas, near the swim beach.
  • Drive west on Mulberry for approximately 3 miles, turn south on Overland Trail, drive approximately 1.5 miles, turn west on 42 C for 0.7 mile, turn south on Centennial Drive, cross Spring Canyon Dam, proceed south of CR 38E as described above.


Horsetooth Reservoir

The scenic venue for our swim is the 6.5 mile long reservoir on the west side of Fort Collins. It is a popular recreation site for boaters, hikers, rock climbers, campers, and picnickers. We start at Satanka Cove and swim south along the western shore. The course will take a slight right turn into one of the coves. There are a number of other scenic coves on your right that might lure you astray, so you need to know the course: get help with navigation from your paddler. Swim south to South Beach to the finish line to complete the 6.2 mile swim. The exact route will be based on the water level and explained at the mandatory meeting Saturday evening and in the webinar.  Your paddler is one of your guards against the boaters and personal water craft buzzing around the lake. We have never had any incident, but it is important that you stick to the western shore, and coordinate with your paddler to provide protection.

BEFORE RACE DAY: If you wish to view the race course before Sunday, you may get a good view by following these instructions: From College and Mulberry, drive south on College for three miles, turn west (right) on Horsetooth Drive, drive west for 2 miles, turn south on Taft Hill and drive south for 0.5 mile, turn west on County Road 38E. Once you are on CR 38E headed west, drive up the hill approaching the reservoir. At the top of the hill you will come to Spring Canyon Dam. Proceed slowly south on CR 38. After a few hundred yards, pull off onto the first gravel shoulder. At this point you can look across the reservoir to the south and see the finish area near the pavilion, north of the boat ramps. [If you wish to swim, you must proceed south, circle around to the entrance, pay a fee, and go for a dip at the swim beach.] After you view the finish area, look to the north and you will see the dam on the far horizon – that’s about 6 miles north!! Great sight, huh??? You will start the swim at Satanka Cove to the west of the dam. There are other pull-off spots along this section of the road. After sizing up the venue from that point, you can drive north along the east side of the reservoir. You will cross Spring Canyon Dam, go up and down the hills, cross Dixon Canyon Dam (look down to the east to see Hughes Stadium), then up another hill. Along the top of this ridge are some parking areas including Rotary Park and Sunrise Park where you can see the middle part of your swim route. Proceed further north, cross Soldier Canyon Dam, then up the hill again to Skyline Park where you can see the start area. (For those who also run road races, you are on the early stages of the famous Horsetooth Half Marathon, run each year in May.) Resuming your drive north, at the bottom of the “Dam Hill” you will see the Horsetooth Dam across the north end of the reservoir. You can drive across the dam and see the start area on the boat ramp in Satanka Cove. The official start line of the 10K swim will be somewhere in the water, depending on the water level on race day.

Essential Dates/Times :

Saturday, September 9, 2017

5:00 pm     Check-in for swimmers and paddlers starts

5:30 pm     Buffet dinner begins

6:00 pm     Mandatory race meeting: explanation of final swim course, explanation of wave starts, final briefings, safety regulations, instructions for parking, meet and coordinate with paddler (positioning, feeding, navigation).

Sunday, September 10, 2017

5:00 am     Buses and truck start loading at South Beach at South Bay.

5:30 am     Buses leave South Beach with swimmers and paddlers. Truck leaves South Beach with kayaks/canoes.

6:00 am     Buses and truck arrive at north end, Satanka Cove, boats unloaded.  Swimmers and paddlers check in.  Swimmers are body marked.

6:30 am     Paddler and swimmer meetings

6:45 am     Paddlers enter water and move into place

6:50 am     Swimmers may enter water for warm-up

7:00 am     Race start from the north end Satanka Cove. Wave starts explained at Saturday meeting.

The Race Committee looks forward to meeting you and to a successful swim!

Any last minute questions?? Email the committee at