Want to swim in the Ohio River? Here’s your chance

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The only open water swim across the Ohio River returns later this month.

The Bill Keating, Jr. Great Ohio River Swim is scheduled for August 28 as a fundraiser for Adventure Crew, a local nonprofit connecting city teenagers to nature and each other.

Participants take the plunge at the Public Landing in Downtown Cincinnati and then swim to the Kentucky side of the river and back, a distance of approximately one-half mile, while the river is closed to motorized traffic.

Registration is open on the event website.

Swimmers who want to go the extra miles can become “Double Dippers.” This small group of participants will take a 2.5-mile swim downstream along the Ohio shoreline before joining participants in the traditional 900-meter course. Double Dippers also commit to raising $200 for Adventure Crew’s Swim Training Program, which provides city teens with access to swim lessons, water safety instruction and lifeguard certification.

“This will be our second year offering the ‘Double Dip,’ and we’re looking forward to bringing back this fun challenge for strong swimmers,” said Miriam Wise, Adventure Crew’s director of support and engagement. “We’re also excited that the proceeds support our Swim Training Program to help city teens develop this lifesaving skill and open up more outdoor opportunities to them.”

The Swim is named for Bill Keating, Jr., one of the first swimmers to sign up for the inaugural event in 2007. That first year, he won the men’s swim but lost the overall title to his daughter, Caroline Keating, now the event chair. He continued to be a huge supporter of the event until he died of brain cancer in 2017.

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On the day of the event, on-site registration opens at 7 a.m., with mandatory open water safety instructions at 8 a.m. and an 8:15 a.m. start. Double Dippers must be present by 6:15 a.m. to complete their 2.5-mile swim before joining the 900-meter course.

If river conditions are uncooperative, the event will be rescheduled for Sunday, September 11.

Wise said she’s excited to see some 200 swimmers get back on the Ohio River in support of Adventure Crew’s swim program.

“While there are great swim traditions in our city, there is limited access to instruction in the communities Adventure Crew serves,” she said. “The Bill Keating, Jr. Great Ohio River Swim raises critical funds to help broaden that access to all.”

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