First Out-of-Cove Swim

Are you looking forward to your first scheduled out-of-cove club swim with the Dolphin Club? Wonderful! We are thrilled you will be joining us. Here are some things you need to know.

Things you need to know before signing up for the swim
Club Swim Eligibility: Club scheduled swims are restricted to club members in good standing only. Have you joined within the last six months? There are four ways for new members to become eligible to participant in scheduled out-of-cove club swims.

  • Be a member in good standing for at least six months
  • OR complete the 100-mile swim within your first six months of membership
  • OR complete the 40-mile Polar Bear swim within your first six months of membership
  • OR complete the “Accelerated Out-of-Cove Process,” which involves swimming eight one-mile swims in the Cove with prior approval of one of the Swim Commissioners; contact for the form, prior to beginning this process
  • Please note: Some club swims (Golden Gate Swim and Alcatraz Swim) have a few additional eligibility requirements; Please see those swim descriptions for details

No Swim Aids: No swim aids, including wetsuits, fins, paddles, or other swim aids, are allowed on scheduled Dolphin Club swims. 

US Masters Swimming Membership: All swimmers must be a paid member of the US Masters Swimming (USMS) organization When you become a member of USMS, be sure to select PACIFIC as your  Local Region. In addition, if you are not already affiliated with another Master’s Swim Club, select the Dolphin Club as your Club Name.

Dolphin Swim Club Fee: You need to pay a $55 swim fee to the Dolphin Club which is used to help subsidize pre- and post-food and beverages for the swimmers and volunteers. This swim fee is good for one calendar year no matter if you swim in one club swim or twenty club swims that year.  Bring your $55 with you to your first swim.

Orange Dolphin Swim Cap: All Dolphin swimmers must wear a fluorescent orange Dolphin Swim cap during the swim. This helps us easily identify which swimmers are part of our swim and which swimmers are part of a different group. (Yes, there are more swimmers out in the bay than you think!) You can purchase one on the morning of the swim if you bring an extra $10-$15.

Transportation or Special Event Fee: Some swims have a small extra cost. For example, sometimes we need to hire a boat or a bus to get you to the starting point! Pay attention to the emails from the Swim Commissioner if your swim has any additional fees.

Sign-Up for the Swim: The Swim Sign-Up sheet goes up in the club about two week before the swim date.  Please sign up as soon as you know you want to participate so we can get a feeling for how many pilots we will need. Even if you sign up, you must still come to the club to register for the swim the morning of the swim! If you sign up and then know you won’t be able to participate after all, cross your name off the Sign-Up Sheet.

What to bring and expect the day of the swim
Register the Morning of Swim:  Even if you had previously signed-up for the swim, you must still come to the club the morning of the swim to officially register and get your swim number written on your arm..  If this is your first Dolphin swim of the year bring:

  • Dolphin Swim Club Fee (see above for description)
  • Your USMS Membership Card either printed or in electronic form. (see above for description).
  • Any additional Transportation or Special Event fee
  • $10-$15 to buy a fluorescent orange Dolphin Swim cap if you don’t already own one.

Attend the Swim Briefing: You must attend the swim briefing before the swim. In the swim briefing, we will do a roll call of all the swimmers names to ensure we know exactly who is on the swim! Also in the swim briefing, we alert you to important information about the expected swim conditions and our lessons learned from the test swim the day before the swim.

Pre-Swim Attire: The starting point of the swim is usually NOT the Dolphin Club. Thus, you’ll probably want to wear something to keep warm to the starting point, such as a Dolphin Swim Parka. Once at the starting line, our cheerful “Clothes Wrangler” volunteers will ask you to put your clothing and shoes into giant sacks. Our Clothes Wranglers will transport the clothing back to the Dolphin Club so be kind don’t make them carry a bunch of heavy stuff! Your clothes will be waiting for you on tables on the deck.

Swim! Have fun and enjoy your swim! Be sure you are wearing your fluorescent orange Dolphin Swim cap! If you get cold or tired or have any concerns or questions, signal to a pilot you’d like to talk by raising one or two arms. Tell us what’s going on and what you need. If needed, you can get pulled out into a boat and get re-positioned in the swim or get a ride back to the Dolphin Club. Safety first!

About our Pilots: As you swim, you will be accompanied by Dolphin Pilots in rowboats, stand up paddle board, kayaks, and motorized water craft. Our swims have a 3:1 swimmer-to-pilot ratio. Our pilot are there to help keep you safe from other boaters and to assist you if you need support. To catch the attention of a pilot, stop swimming and raise your arm in the air! Some pilots may also be able to provide advice on swim headings and currents, but this is knowledge only learned after much experience and thus not all pilots have that knowledge.

Popsicle Sticks (also known as tongue depressors if you are in the medical field): Immediately after emerging from the water, you’ll be handed a numbered popsicle stick (tongue depressor)! Then, you’ll be asked to hand your popsicle stick to someone who records down the number. This is how we track how many people have returned from the swim.  Do not take this popsicle stick to the locker room otherwise we will think someone is still out in the bay.

Rest! Eat! Be Merry!  After you’ve warmed up, come join the swimmers and volunteers for post-swim meal and camaraderie!