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noun or verb - Finish is the location of a completion to an open water swimming competition or the act of completing an open water swimming race, solo swim or relay.


Official Finish

Officially, the swimmer must 'clear the water' under their own power without assistance from any other individual. This means that all parts of the swimmer's body must be out of the water on a piece of dry land whether it is an island, shoreline, peninsula, beach, coastline, embankment, ledge, harbor, cove, inlet or strand.

Method of Clearing the Water

The swimmer must independently walk, run, crawl, writhe, drag or pull themselves, or catch a wave or swell in order to clear the water.

Non-finish Examples

If the swimmers comes upon a sand bar, sandbank, shoal, tombolo, reef, rock or other temporary bit of temporarily exposed geography or man-made construction such as a breakwater, jetty, barrier, embankment, levee, pier, seawall, anchorage, dock, mooring or wharf with water behind it, then the swimmer has not yet finished.

However, if this natural geography or man-made construction has no water behind it, then the finish is recognized at that point. In some cases, it may not be possible to clear the water (by climbing out or up) and a simple touch of this natural geography or man-made construction will suffice.


It is always important to consult with the local or international governing body to confirm the recognized methods of finishing.


1. Shore is a general word for an edge of land directly bordering a body of water. A coast is limited to land along a sea or ocean. The coast is the seaward limit of the land and the shore is the landward limit of the sea.

2. In races where the finish is some other kind of designated construction or element, the decisions of the race officials are finish.

3. These guidelines or rules are true for both solo and relay swimmers.

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