Open Water Swim

Shawn Orchard, right, of Tigard catches his breath Saturday after the 3,000-meter swim during the 15th-annual US Masters Open Water Swim Meet at Eel Lake.

Masters swimming returns to the South Coast on Saturday, Aug. 14, for the annual Eel Lake swims at Tugman State Park near Lakeside.

Local swimmers are encouraged to sign up for the event, even if they never have competed in the open water. The day includes three different races — a 3,000-meter race, a 1,500-meter race and a predicted-time 500, in which swimmers will predict ahead of time how fast they will swim the marked up-and-back 250-meter course. The person closest to their predicted time wins, not necessarily the fastest swimmer.

Local swimmers who have never competed in the open water are encouraged to enter the “Just for Fun” section of the 1,500, in which they can use any equipment they want, including snorkels, fins and buoys, to make swimming in the lake easier.

To sign up, swimmers can visit to register. Oregon Masters Swimming, which sanctions the event, also needs kayakers and paddle boarders to be part of the safety crew. Anyone interested can come with their craft to Eel Lake by 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 14.

Mohr wins age group

Local masters swimmer Ralph Mohr competed in the recent 1,500-meter state championships at Elk Lake, in the shadow of South Sister near Bend.

During the first leg of any race at Elk Lake it seems like one swims straight toward the South Sister as it looms over the lake, Mohr said. Finishing the course was complicated since the water level of the lake is lower than usual, making the finishing area quite shallow.

“Running through the shallows is not an option for me,” Mohr said. “I move much better in water than on land.”

Mohr finished 48th overall out of 73 swimmers, in a time of 29 minutes and 7.49 seconds.

“The time was OK for someone in the 80-84 age group,” Mohr said. “I’m happy I can still break half an hour for the metric mile.”

The event was Mohr’s final tuneup for the Eel Lake event.


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