The Chattanooga Open Water Swimmers (COWS) are a United States Masters Swimming Club and are supported by Outdoor Chattanooga.  Though we do not have traditional pool or coaches, we organize weekly USMS open water swims practices, open water swim races for adults and youth, and promote safety inopen water swimming in Chattanooga, TN.


As USMS team, our members are insured both in and out of the water at all official COWS swims.  COWS is composed of a groups of volunteer members who serve as advocates for those interested in utilizing the Tennessee River and other local bodies of water for open water swimming. 

The COWS were founded in April of 2010 as a casual group of swimmer friends and outdoor enthusiasts who were interested in taking advantage of the open water playground provided in their hometown.  Quickly growing in popularity, the COWS partnered with Outdoor Chattanooga to provide organized weekly group swims in the TN River along the downtown Chattanooga waterfront.  The COWS have also partnered with the Chattanooga Tri Club, to work towards the common goal of both creating and raising awareness for a safe open water swimming environment, as well as to promote opportunities for local swims and competitions. 

The “season” for weekly COWS group swims usually spans April to October (depending on the weather, water temps, etc.) and kayak escorts are provided for safety through volunteer pilots and the use of Outdoor Chattanooga equipment.  Must be a USMS swimmer.

The COWS started the Snail Darter 1 Mile Sprint and the Swim the Suck race in 2010.   Swim the Suck is a 10 mile swim in the TN river gorge which draws participants from 30 states and internationally. The COWS and Outdoor Chattanooga hosted the 2014 United States Masters Swimming Open Water National Championships event.   The Championships were held on May 17, 2014, in the TN River in downtown Chattanooga.  In collaboration with the McCallie River Rats, we hosted the 2017 United States Masters Swimming Open Water National Championships Festival with a 1-mile fun swim on June 2, the 1-3 miles championship on June 3 and the 9+ mile championship on June 4.