Types of Open Water Swim Courses
- A geometric course refers to the triangular, rectangular or any other multi-side shape of an open water swim. It generally has the start and finish at the same point, but not always. The start and finish can be in the water or on land.
- A circumnavigation course is a round-trip open water swim around an island. It can also be referred to as a circumnatation.
- A loop course refers to the shape of an open water swim where swimmers swim around buoys in any geometric shape (e.g., circular, triangular or rectangular), generally starting and finishing at the same point (or around a peninsula or pier or jetty or coastal outcropping).
- A ship-to-shore course refers to a course that begins on a ship or boat or other type of marine vessel and ends on a nearby shoreline. It can also be referred to as a point-to-point course.
- A point-to-point course refers to the shape of an open water swim where swimmers start and finish at two separate points that can be on land or in the water at a fixed position. It can also be referred to as a linear course or a pier-to-pier course or P2P course.
- An out-and-back course course refers to the shape of an open water swim where athletes start onshore, head out to a point away from shore in a bay, ocean, sea, lake or estuary, and then return back to the finish at the same point where the swim started.
- A bank-to-bank course refers to a course that starts on one bank (of a river or shore) and finishes on the opposite or other bank.
- An island-to-island course is a point-to-point swim from one island to another.
- An offshore course is where a majority or all of an open water swim is located far offshore, away from a continent or mainland.
- A coastal course is an open water swim where most of the course is located along a coast or shoreline.
- A transoceanic course is an assisted stage swim or relay across one of the world's oceans, either a transpacific swim or a transatlantic swim.
- A stage course is one leg of a stage swim that consists of a number of swims held on consecutive days where the start of one leg begins at the end of the swim on the previous day.