Current Reservoir Reports
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Application to swim SCAR 2024? Applications for SCAR 2024 will open November 1, 2023. The event sells out every year so better to be early than wait. It is from that pool of applicants that swimmers will be accepted. Swimmers are strongly encouraged to provide their own physically capable crew (kayaker) for each of their swims. Swimmers with crew and registered for all four swims are given priority. A very limited pool of volunteer crew members are available for swimmers traveling from out of the country.
2. I heard the application is a two-step process? Yes. First, we receive the application with preference to swimmers doing all 4 lakes and providing their own crew (we provide the kayak and transportation of kayaks). If accepted, the applicant will be e-mailed an invoice to make an online payment. Once payment is confirmed the swimmer will receive confirmation of their SCAR entry.
3. Do you only accept fast swimmers or Triple Crown quality-like swimmers? The swimmers that are attracted to this event are pretty serious about swimming but not all of them are necessarily fast. There are time limitations for each swim and swimmers may be pulled from the water in the event they have exceeded the allotted time to complete the swim. There are some swims that are better suited to a solo swim rather than a group marathon swim such as SCAR. There is only one-night swim and that's Roosevelt.
4. Do I have to swim all four lakes to enter SCAR? Preference is given to those swimmers who apply for all four lakes: Saguaro, Canyon, Apache, and Roosevelt. In years past there is limited room for individual swims at each of these lakes but that number is decreasing due to the interest in all 4 swims.
5. What is the cost? All four swims, apply before December 15, 2023: $1800. Swimming the lakes individually can range from $375 to $850. We do not charge for the SCAR Welcome Party, post-swim snacks, or kayaks and kayak transportation to each lake/start/finish. If a swimmer has additional paddlers there is an additional fee for the additional swag. SCAR is not profit-driven nor to benefit any designated charity in order to keep expenses low. SCAR has donated to the Arizona Aquatic Sports Foundation, Leave No Trace and assisted young swimmers seeking to participate in the open water. No refunds under any circumstances.
6. Do I need to find a crew? Yes. Absolutely. It's a team adventure, not a solo event. Your success will depend on your team. Open water marathon swimming is a team sport and requires the swimmer to put together and be responsible for their crew. In an effort to accommodate those traveling to Arizona from outside the country, there is a very small pool of kayakers that can assist those swimmers. In order for SCAR to be sustainable, swimmers MUST assist in recruiting their own physically capable crew and accept responsibility for the experience and knowledge of their crew. There is no guarantee that SCAR will provide a paddler for the swimmer.
7. Is there an extra cost for a kayak? Can I bring my own? Kayaks are included in the entry fee so you have no extra cost. We transport all kayaks to and from each lake, to each start and from each finish. There are some hardcore kayak volunteers that like to use their own kayak and we just need to know that fact in advance because space is limited.
8. Can I get a double kayak for two paddlers? No. Loading 50 kayaks in a couple of U-Haul is an art form. A double kayak throws a wrench into it.
9. Where do I stay? Hotel / Motel reservations and transportation are the responsibility of the swimmer. Basically, you will spend Tuesday night and Wednesday night in Mesa (before Saguaro and Canyon Lake swims). The Saguaro Guest Ranch is a prime choice. Hyatt Place in Mesa is also a prime choice. Thursday night and Friday night 99% of swimmers and crew stay at the Apache Marina Motel so book your room early and confirm your reservation. After the Roosevelt swim, swimmers stay in nearby Globe or drive all the way back to Mesa.
10. How do I get from lake to lake? Rent a car. A list of all the swimmers and paddlers emails will be disclosed so that swimmers and crew can carpool and split costs. SCAR is not responsible for transporting you to lakes or back to your hotel.
11. What airport should I fly into? Phoenix International Sky Harbor is the main airport. There is also Phoenix/Mesa Gateway airport that has limited airlines flying into it but may be less expensive.
12. How fast do I need to be? It is recommended that the swimmers have a few long cold swims under their Speedo (5-6 miles) before attempting SCAR. You should be able to swim a mile (1500 meters / 1650 yds) under 35 minutes. Cut off times varying with swimming conditions but an example is Saguaro in 5 hours. Canyon in 4.5 hours. Apache in 10 hours. Roosevelt in 4 hours. All these times are subject to change given event conditions at the time of each swim. Swimmers unable to make the designated cut off times are pulled from the swim.
13. What do I need to feed on during my swim? This is an important question the swimmer needs to answer before attempting these swims. Are you doing 30-minute interval feeds of 8 oz with a protein/ carbo/electrolyte/gel rotation? You should be able to communicate your feed plan very easily to your crew with colored bottles with different shapes and premixed for the anticipated number of hours expected to swim. Do not expect your paddler to be able to mix your feeds on the kayak –it’s windy and it just won’t work out very well for you. The more complicated the feeds - the less likelihood of success.
14. Can I wear a wetsuit? Traditionally, open water events like this discourage wetsuits. We want some flexibility if it means growing the sport. Very few entries are allowed with wetsuits and they will be strongly encouraged to go without one and enjoy the “refreshing” water.
15. Air temps? It is generally a sunny time of year with no chance of rain. The first three swims will start in the morning and air temp is expected to range between 72F –78F. As the day progresses the air temp will climb to 82F –90F. April can be a windy month for Arizona so the air temp shouldn’t feel too warm. Predicting the weather is difficult - you can only predict that it's unpredictable.
16. Water temps? The water can be cold and we've experienced hypothermic swimmers every year. Swimmers seek their parka after a swim. The addition of wind can make it very cold but not cold enough to qualify as a 6 hour, sub 60F, English Channel qualifying swim. We start and finish at dams and that is where the coldest water lurks. Estimated from past swims: 61F – 63F but within the first mile and a half, it will climb to 66F – 70F. Swimming in the sun between the canyon walls of the lakes warms swimmers up. Swimmers are strongly encouraged to acclimate to cold water prior to arriving at SCAR and having the means to warm themselves from their dry bag if they have to abandon the swim.
17. How many swimmers do you expect? The swim is boutique in the sense that we can only handle 40 - 45 swimmers, crew, and kayaks per lake. You will see the logistics of moving over 100 people from the marina to the starting buoys along with 45 kayaks. Not sure how we get it done but we do. The small feel of the swim allows people to form long-lasting friendships during their stay.
18. Social Event The Night Before Saguaro Swim? The Welcome Party has become a highlight. The social aspect of SCAR is important so we try to enhance it with a dinner and introduction of swimmers. It’s not mandatory –so not a big deal if you can’t make it. It’s just an awesome time to introduce yourself to the other swimmers.
19. What if my crew cannot finish the lake? Swimmers will be required to have a kayaker or boat support with them at all times. It’s a safety issue. If your crew is unable to make it – we may be required to pull the swimmer from the water as well if there is limited boat support in the area. In very rare instances there is a substitute paddler on a boat that can take over but do not count on this option at all. It really isn’t that hard to paddle these lakes at a swimmers speed (when there isn't a stiff headwind).
20. Snacks at the End of the Swims? We do our best but if you really crave something after a swim you need to pack it along with you. We have had requests by carnivores for ribeye sandwiches in the past but we cannot accommodate all individual dietary needs.
21. Why pack two (2) bags for the swim? A Feed Bag and a Dry Bag. One mesh bag should contain your feedings for the lake you are swimming. This mesh bag will be handed to your paddler on the beach immediately before the swim. The second bag should be a dry bag (a dry bag that seals and keeps water out) –this is for your after swim towel, parka, glasses, hat, snack, dry clothes, refreshment, sunblock and whatever keeps you comfortable after a long swim. Your Dry Bag is to be stored on your kayak to ensure that your warm post swim gear is with you.
22. Is there media coverage of the event? Yes. We were thrilled to be voted #1 Open Water Swim Event of the Year 2022 by WOWSA. SCAR SWIM has been referred to in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Daily News of Open Water, Openwaterpedia, nominated for 2014 WOWSA Open Water Swim Offering of the Year, Swimming World TV, and local Arizona news agencies.
23. What is the current status of the lakes/reservoirs given past drought conditions? The reservoirs we swim are managed by Salt River Project (SRP). The SRP Reservoir Reports are available by selecting the SRP icon. To make sense of the reports: Stewart Mtn is Saguaro Lake. Mormon Flat is Canyon Lake. Horse Mesa is Apache Lake. Roosevelt is Roosevelt.
24. Is the distance of SCAR really 40+ miles? Not really. The distance is roughly 40 miles. Boats are, by law, directed to travel the lakes in a counter-clockwise direction. There is nothing "official" about the swim distances of these lakes other than it's from buoy to buoy (Roosevelt from a boat launch to the small dock). Measurement of the lakes was based on a counter-clockwise direction using Google Earth. Swimmers are permitted to navigate (cut corners) as they swim the course, however, Boat Patrol has been known to force a swimmer to the proper side of the lake. Therefore, a swimmer's GPS may be shorter than the distance attributed to each lake. If you are overly concerned about the distance you are missing the point of the swims.
25. I have people that would like to spectate on a boat during the swims - is this allowed? The boats we have for the event may have room for spectators but it is extremely limited and is on a case by case basis.