The Jim McDonnell Lake Swims are hosted by Reston Masters Swim Team and held each year on Memorial Day weekend since 1988. With over 700 swimmers, JMLS is the largest open water event in the region.
The swim series started as the Reston 2-Mile Lake Swim and was swum along a 1/4-mile rope until 1998 when the rope length was changed to 1/2-mile. In 1999, the swim was renamed the Jim McDonnell 2-Mile Swim in honor of Reston Masters’ team member Jim McDonnell, who died in 1998 of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Jim was a founding member of the team and was on the meet committee that organized the first swim. For 2003, a 1-mile swim was added to the program and the event was renamed the Jim McDonnell Lake Swims. The course was changed from a rope course to the current 1 mile open water course with buoys pictured above (see enlarged version). Participants swim outside the buoys in a counter-clockwise direction staying between the buoys and the shore, once for the 1 mile swim and twice for the 2 mile swim.
Reston Masters has twice hosted U. S. Masters Swimming National Open Water Championships, the first time in 1997 (2-mile championships) and most recently in 2007 (1-mile championships). An Open Water Clinic was added in 2005. In 2012 a 3-Mile Swim was added forming the inaurgual “Triple Dip” with over 100 swimmers swimming all three races; a combined time was recorded. In 2015 an associated enhanced Open Water in pool Clinic was separately provided by the Fitter & Faster Swim Tour and led by Olympic open water swimmers. The 2016 JMLS will for the first time add a USMS Open Water Clinic led by USMS-certified Coach Dominic Latella featuring both in pool and in lake sessions, followed by an opportunity for a 1-mile Practice Swim over the Lake Audubon race course.
In 2009 we began a quest to be a green event. We have subsequently implemented a number of steps to make the race more environmentally responsible:
- We are doing minimal packet stuffing to reduce excess use of paper products.
- We will not print a program for each swimmer.
- Heat sheets will be posted by the Monday preceding event weekend at www.restonmasters.com
- Recycling containers will be at the site and labeled for you to dispose of recyclables.
- The timing chips will be collected for recycling after your swim. Please turn in all unused chips before leaving the venue.
- Race sponsors will be available in specially set-up tents for you to visit during the event.