Foster Lake Cable Swims

Race Date: Saturday June 27, 2020

Foster Lake Cable Swims is an event hosted by Central Oregon Masters Aquatics at Foster Lake near Sweet Home, Oregon. Both a two-mile and one-mile race are offered for Masters Swimmers and in 2019 we added a 1/2-Mile swim for 11-12 year olds as well as the 1-Mile and 2-Miles races for 13 and over USA-Swimming swimmers.  For 2020 we will NOT have the USA-Swimming sanction, so no-one under 18 may enter.  We hope to get it back in the near future! As one of the few permanent cable swim courses, Foster Lake often hosts the USMS One Mile or Two Mile National Championships.

Event Information

All registrations for the Foster Lake Cable Swims MUST be completed via the on-line registration system.  Click on the link immediately below to register for the Lake Swims. The 2020 event plans to include both Masters and USA-Swimming swimmers age 11 & up - so bring the whole family! Registration closes on Thursday June 18, 2020 and no Day of Race entries allowed.

USMS (Adults) On-line Registration NOT Open Yet    

LOCATION & COURSE:  Foster Lake is a scenic reservoir located just off U.S. Route 20 east of Sweet Home, OR.  Lewis Creek Park, located on the northeast corner of the lake, will be the event venue. The course is a 0.25 mile length of cable surveyed & certified accurate to national cable swim standards.  Water temperature on this weekend in June has varied from 67-71 degrees Fahrenheit and will be posted at the event.

2-Mile Cable swim for USMS swimmers, seeded accordingly.
1-Mile Cable swim for USMS swimmers, seeded accordingly.

SWIM SCHEDULE (subject to change due to conditions):
6:45am           Lewis Creek Park opens for swimmers
7:15am           Check-in opens for all swims
8:00am           Check-in closes for Two-Mile
8:05am           Pre-race meeting & marshaling for Two-Mile
8:30am           Start of Two-Mile Cable Swim 
10:00am         Check-in closes for One-Mile
10:35am         Mandatory pre-race meeting & marshaling for One-Mile
11:00am         Start of One-Mile Cable Swim
12:15pm         Awards Ceremony begins
12:15pm         Relay entries close for Masters relays

CONSOLIDATED EVENT:  Each swim will be seeded as a single swim, without regard to swimmers' ages, gender, or sanctioning body, in the order of submitted entry times.  Places, awards, and published results for these events shall be separate for ech age group, gender, swimwear category, and sanctioning body. 

SAFETY - OUR PRIMARY CONCERN:  All swims will be unescorted. Spotters in safety boats will monitor the entire course in zone coverage and medical personnel will be on-site.  Swimmers must wear a brightly-colored swim cap provided, have their race number on their arms (or hands when wearing sleeved wetsuits), and follow all announced safety rules without exception.        

WARM-UP and WARM-DOWN: There will be a practice cable set up in the enclosed swimming area and spotters provided there for supervised warm-up and warm-down. Please warm-up before the pre-race meeting as marshaling starts directly after the meeting.

STARTS: In all swims, swimmers will start in the water in seeded waves (10-15 swimmers each) starting 20 seconds apart. 

REGISTRATION - ONLINE ONLY:   All entries MUST be received by June 18, 2020.  Due to organization & seeding needs, late or day-of-race entries will NOT be accepted (except for relays, see below).  Please do not even ask.

ENTRY LIMITS:  The entire event, including both swims, is limited to the first 200 registrants.  We will maintain a waiting list in case early registrants drop out early enough to notify others.

ENTRY FEE:  One swim is $40.  Two swims are $55.

QUALIFYING TIMES: No time entries will not be accepted. For Masters swimmers anyone who cannot swim 1650-yards (1500 meters) in 45 minutes may not enter the events.

OTHER INFORMATION: Each swimmer will receive a post-swim meal consisting of a wrap, some chips, fruit and a cookie. Order vegetarian or meat on your entry. Meals for spectators can also be ordered at $12 each, but will be cut-off 10 days prior to the event.  Foster Lake commemerative t-shirts can be ordered in advance for $18 in ADULT sizes only.  T-Shirt orders will be cut-off 10 days in advance of the swim.  Tent-only camping is available the night before the race for $10 per tent. NO RVs, Vans, Teardrops, Pop-ups, etc. You must camp in a tent. There will be a $7 parking fee - cash only and correct change appreciated!

RESULTS: Results for each race will be posted as promptly as possible. They will also be posted on the following sites: COMA website and Oregon Masters website .Ribbons will be awarded to Master's swimmers for the top three places in individual events in both the Category I and Category II suit divisions.  There will be no club scoring or awards.

SWIMWEAR: For USMS Swimmers: Current USMS rules apply. Category I suits are recommended and required for relays & records. Category II suits - including wetsuits- are welcomed in both swims but tabluated separately from Category I suits. Swimmers wearing Category II suits are not eligible for relays and records. See Master's classification details.

So, What on Earth is a Cable Swim?

USMS rules tell us that cable swims are open water swims done on a specially designed one-quarter mile straightaway course defined by a cable including frequent buoys.  These courses are built to demanding specifications, with measurement tolerances within six inches only, and include an in-water start and finish. 

What are the benefits of cable swims?  They are a way to hold an open water swim in a well defined, relatively small area.  They are the easiest open water courses to patrol and maintain swimmer safety.  They are great venues for up-close, in-your-face competitive racing.  Records are kept.  And they provide a friendly transition from pool swims to open water swims, because cable swims share common elements with both kinds of swimming.

Pool swimmers will feel at home because cable swims include:

  • Heats and Waves:  Cable swims may have two heats.  Within each heat, there will be 8-12 waves of 8-12 swimmers each wave with staggered starts, much like heats at a pool meet.
  • Seeding:  Swimmers will be arranged at the starts by 1650-yard or 1500-meter seed times.

  • Steering:  There is a lane line (the cable) which makes swimming in a straight line pretty easy, even for those who are navigationally challenged.
  • Measured Course & Records:  Cable courses are the only open water courses to have measured distances certified to be accurate.  And because courses are accurate, records are kept.

Open water swimmers will feel at home because cable swims include:

  • Non-Rectangular Body of Water:  It is free form, shaped by erosion with some small help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Cooler Water:  No bathwater here!  We expect about 70 degree water on normal race days.

  • Variety:  There may always be hot or cold air temperatures, sunny or inclement weather, wind, and waves.
  • Crowds:  Like all open water swims, everyone will seem to want to share your lane.

Come join the fun at the Foster Lake Cable Swims, at the only permanently-anchored cable swim course in the western United States!

Essential Information Links
(Please read if you have not done a cable swim before)

Cable Swim Course at Foster Lake

Conduct of Foster Lake Cable Swims

USMS Open Water Swimwear Rule Summary

USMS One-Mile Cable Swim Records

USMS Two-Mile Cable Swim Records

Directions to Lewis Creek Park
(site of Foster Lake Cable Swims)

From the North:  Take I-5 south to exit 228.  Drive east on Oregon 34 to Lebanon, then south & east on US 20 through Sweet Home.  2.2 miles past the Weyerhauser mill, turn north on Quartzville Rd.

From the South:  Take I-5 north to exit 216.  Drive east on Oregon 228 to Sweet Home, then continue east on US 20.  2.2 miles past the Weyerhauser mill, turn north on Quartzville Rd.

From the East:  Take US Route 20 west over the Cascades towards Sweet Home, then turn north on Quartzville Rd.

Final Approach:  Drive 1.2 miles north on Quartzville Rd., turn left on N. River Rd, and drive .8 miles to Lewis Creek Park.  Turn left into the entrance, turn right, and park in the lower lot.

PARKING:  Day parking costs $7 per car; please pay at park entrance.  Exact change is welcome. IF the station at the entrance is not yet open, please pay at the registration table.

Lodging and Camping Near Foster Lake

Camping on Site:  We have again secured Tent-Only camping at the race site on Friday night (Lewis Creek Park). Coast is $10 per tent and you MUST register in advance. See on-line registration to secure your space. Sorry, no drop-ins or RV's.

Lodging Suggestions:  We have listed some local lodging options below recommended by our local contacts:

Sweet Home Inn - 805 Long St, Sweet Home, (541) 367-5137

Sun Motel - 3026 Hwy 20, Sweet Home, (541) 367-2205

Foster Lake Inn - 6281  Highway  20, Foster, 541-367-3331

South Santiam Cottages - 15 miles east of Foster Lake, 541-367-6007

Best Western Premier Boulder Falls Inn - 505 Mullins Dr, Lebanon, OR 97355, 844-278-1939

Shanico Inn - 1840 Main Street, Lebanon, (888) 815-4408

The Valley Inn Motel Lebanon, 2885 S Santiam Hwy, Lebanon, OR 97355

There are also a lot of lodging choices along the I-5 corridor. (Salem, Albany, Corvallis)

Other Camping: The Linn County Park & Recreation Commission operates two nearby campgrounds:

Sunnyside Campground (1.2 miles away), 44930 Quartzville Dr, Foster, OR 97345

River Bend Campground (5 miles away), 45931 Santiam Highway, Foster, OR 97345

Edgewater RV Resort (no tent camping), 1400 60th Av, Sweet Home, OR 97386

Foster Lake RV Resort - 6191 Highway 20, Foster, OR 800-562-0367  RV's, some tent, some cabins.

There are two other sites to look for campgrounds - though they will be farther away from the Lake. Go to to see what is available and to reserve a spot. Put in State=Oregon, Near=Sweet Home. Then look at the map to see how far away from the race start area.

Seeding Lists

Once registration is closed, all swimmers are seeded into waves. Waves consist of 8-15 swimmers that start at the same time. Waves are usually started 20 seconds apart.  We are constantly updating the seeding list below with any error corrections and will continue to do so up until the day before the event. Click on the link below to view the preliminary seeding for all three of our swims. This is PRELIMINARY, please re-check your wave on the Final Seeding Lists posted at the race site (near Check-In table). Note: We have had issues this year, of browser fill-in putting in a parent's name instead of the children's name for our USA-S swimmers. Please let us know immediately if this is the case (use the Contact Page). 

Example: 2019 Foster Lake Seeding (2-Mile, Half-Mile, 1-Mile Races)


Foster Lake Results

Below are the results of completed Foster Lake Cable Swims:

2019 Results Foster Lake - USA-Swimming Members
2019 Results Foster Lake - Two-Mile and One-Mile USMS Swimmers
2018 Results Foster Lake Two-Mile, One-Mile and OMS Championships (without relays)
2017 Results Foster Lake Two-Mile and One-Mile Cable Swims
2016 - Race was cancelled
2015 Results Foster Lake Two-Mile and One-Mile Cable Swims
2014 Results Foster Lake Two-Mile and One-Mile Cable Swims
2013 Results Foster Lake Two-Mile and One-Mile Cable Swims
2012 Results Foster Lake Two-Mile and One-Mile Cable Swims
2011 Results Foster Lake Two-Mile and One-Mile Cable Swims