The first three Open Water swims of 2015 are history. Despite fears of California's desperate water shortages, there was plenty to go around at Spring Lake, Berryessa and Del Valle. The common denominators for all Pacific Masters open water events are beautiful venues, great organization, challenging courses, spirited competition and terrific camaraderie.  

Visit the Spring Lake, Lake Berryessa,

Del Valle 5 & 10K, and Del Valle 1m & 2K photo galleries

for a retrospective of these wonderful swims.
Beautiful Spring Lake

Spring Lake

Spring Lake opened the open water season. The lake was full, the water pleasant and swimming was very inviting. The event included a quick 500- yard-swim and a 1-mile course. 151 swimmers completed the one-mile swim and despite not counting towards open water season points, the 500 drew 50 entrants. Thanks to the United States Lifesaving Association and Redwood Coast Masters for hosting the 27th annual Spring Lake event.

Results at:


The Berryessa Course -  
straight out and straight back
Lake Berryessa

This is the second year of the Berryessa's move to Lupine Shores on the south end of the lake. The annual swim is a mainstay in Pacific Masters' open water calendar and for the 33rd year, Davis Aquatic Masters hosted a wonderful event, offering 1- and 2-mile courses. A good number of swimmers elected to swim both distances. 236 swam the 1-mile and 237 completed the 2-mile race. Of all of the venues, Berryessa was most affected by the drought with the lake level down significantly and the distance to the water farther than ever.

Results at:



Winners of the 10k
Barton Wells and Heidi George
Lake Del Valle

The 2-day Del Valle Open Water Festival was host this year to two USMS National Championship swims. The 10k on Saturday and the 1-mile on Sunday attracted a tremendous number of participants. Swimmers could fit in 3 swims over the 2 days with the additional choice of a 5k or 2.5k. The 4 races accounted for 803 individual swims with the 1 mile attracting 375 participants. Almost 500 swimmers took advantage of perfect weather, and water conditions that bordered on being pool-like. In addition to some very fast swimming were some very inspirational performances. John Batchelder came all the way from Colorado to swim the 2.5k, all butterfly. He actually exited the water smiling.



Heading for the start line for the 1-mile swim

In a show of pure aquatic courage, 20-year-old Theo St. Francis returned to racing two years after a serious accident damaged his cervical spine leaving him without the use of his lower body. After two years of intense therapy, Del Valle marked his return to competitive swimming. Theo was captain of the Marin Academy swim team and entering MIT on a swimming scholarship when the accident occurred. He swam double-arm backstroke the whole way while tethered to a guide. His 2.5k swim was a remarkable display of perseverance and the power of the human spirit.  

Theo St. Francis exiting the lake and at the awards ceremony.


Read about Theo's odyssey at

Results at:


Save the Date

This year, the Pacific Masters Annual Celebration and Meeting will take place on Sunday, November 8th. Featured keynote speaker will be 6-time Olympic medalist Matt Grevers, who is not only a likely member of the 2016 games, but a newly-minted Masters Swimmer. Matt made his Masters debut at the recent Spring Nationals where he broke 3 individual and 1 relay national records. The Annual Celebration and Meeting is a day of swimming, learning, sharing a meal, being inspired by our keynote speaker and a retrospective on the year's accomplishments. Look for more details on this popular event coming soon.