Get ready for the party of the summer: The 2023 Beach Bash. Featuring Live Music, Food and Booze @ Gillson. Save $10 with Early Bird tickets!

Saturday, June 17th for a 7:00 a.m. start | In the waters of Lake Michigan, just off of Wilmette’s Gillson Beach.

No sharks, No salt, Occasionally frozen.

Each registration includes one official entry, race swim cap, event beach towel, and total bragging rights!

Your timing chip, official race swim cap, and towel will be available as you check in on race morning. All check-in will be done at the NEW Gillson Beach House. There will also be time to warm up in the water, prior to the 7:00 a.m. start.

No refunds, exchanges, or transfers.

Any questions? Just write to and we’ll respond quickly. Learn more about the Ouilmette Foundation at

Swim Race Day Details:


Free car and bike parking is available in the Gillson Beach Parking lot. Take Lake Avenue east of Sheridan Road and follow it down into the lot.

Swimmer Check-In

All swimmers must check-in between 6:15 and 6:45 a.m. to receive chips, body marking, and your official swim cap. There will be two heats – the first being fast, the second being intermediate. We ask that swimmers seed themselves appropriately.

We’ll be on-site as early as 6:00 a.m. if you really want to get a jump on it. All pre-registered swimmer check-in and walk-up registration will be at the Gillson Beach House.

Day of registration is available at 6:15 a.m. at the event, with a $15 premium. This can be payable by check or credit card. Walk-Up Registration will close at 6:45 a.m. No exceptions.


Water will be open by 6:45 a.m. for warm-ups.

Mandatory Pre-race Talk

6:50 a.m. for everyone.

The Start

The WOW swim will begin from a standing start in the water. The first wave starts at 7:00 a.m. The second wave starts at 7:10 a.m.

The Course

This is a one-mile out-and-back swim. The course will be clearly marked. Your swim will be fully supported on water and on land. All swimming levels are welcome.

You will swim the entire race with the swim buoys on your right and exit the swim with a large buoy on your left.


Totally welcome. Your call.

The Official Towel

We’ll have it waiting for you as you leave the water. Congratulations! Much more cozy than a medal. Additional towels can be purchased through Eventbrite under “Add-Ons” for $30 each.


We anticipate great weather and water temp based on experience and historical data. As you know, open water conditions can change quickly. Race directors will make the swim/no swim call as soon as there is visibility on race morning. Should conditions be unsafe for the event, you’ll receive a text message calling the event off.

We’re confident you’ll get a great swim in on Saturday.


The more the merrier! Come join us on the beach to cheer the swimmers on. Bring your cowbell.

The WOW swim race course outline is below. The start will be just off of the sailing beach. The swim will go south toward the jetty/rocks, turn and finish near the start at the sailing beach. You’ll keep the buoys on your right at all times on the way out and back. Good sighting options in both directions. You’ll all have very bright neon caps that will NOT be the same color as the buoys. Once you reach the final buoy, you’ll see the exit shoot and you’re back on the beach through the timing corral. Welcome back and congratulations.