PSA: Open Water Swimming Opportunities in the Atlanta Area

Since I’ve received a few inquiries about the “Swim with Pete” posts I referred to in the past, I wanted to put information out to everyone who might need it.

If you live in the Atlanta area, a man by the name of Pete organizes an open water swim twice a month on Saturdays. He is affiliated with a masters swimming organization in town.

Most of the people who attend these are novices, but people of all skill levels are welcome. I know I like having the comfort of someone knowing where I am even though I’ve been swimming for quite some time. Pete sets up his own buoys at different distances, usually about 200 yards apart up to 1000 yards out. From the first buoy out to the rocks and back is roughly one mile.

Pete also has kayakers and paddle boarders on hand. They are all volunteers, so he asks you kick in a $5 donation when you come which goes to them. They are there to help you out just like they would in any race.

His swims usually have a pretty good turnout. I’d say he always has at the very minimum 50 swimmers show up, so it can feel very much like a race.

Pete does this usually from March through October. March and April you will need a wetsuit. May and October a wetsuit would be handy, but the water is warm enough to swim without one.

The swim takes place at Red Top Mountain State Park on Lake Allatoona. To get there you plug in “50 Lodge Road, Cartersville, Georgia, 30121,” into your GPS. It’s roughly 45 minutes from downtown Atlanta and 1 hour and 15 minutes from Chattanooga. Because it is a state park, you’ll need to pay $5 for parking each time. You can buy a $50 yearly pass that’ll expire one year from the month you bought it if you plan on going frequently.

To get on Pete’s mailing list for all the swim dates each month, send an email to “” and he’ll add you to the list. I promise your Pete will not blow up you inbox.

All first timers are required to sign a waiver, after that you will only need to do the sign-in sheet.

This is a great opportunity for people to gain experience, especially for aspiring triathletes who are about to attempt their first race. I highly recommend it. I also don’t mind answering questions or helping out while I’m there, so feel free to PM me and we can meet up if I am going that weekend.


If you are looking to make this your brick workout day, I have good news. If you travel a little further there are marked courses of 15, 31, 48, 69 & 104 miles to ride. They are called the Beautiful Back Country (BBC). To do the routes, follow the markings on the ground. You will see “BBC,” followed by a “peace sign,” that has an arrow coming out of the top. Whatever direction the arrow points, you follow that. Lastly, if there is a number and a separate peace sign & arrow, it means that distance broke off from the other routes. Turns and directions are marked at least twice before they occur. It’s extremely easy to follow.

Busch Drive is relatively flat with the exception of a slow climb to the stop sign, so it makes for a good run after your ride. From the parking lot to the end of the road and back is roughly 4.2 miles.

To get there from Red Top Mountain, you need to get on I-75 and head north. Get off at Exit 296 and turn right. After a short distance, you’ll reach a light that’s past two gas stations. This is Busch Drive; you’ll need to make a right turn here. Follow Busch Drive for roughly 2 miles to the Budweiser Plant. If you go to the end of the road, you’ve gone too far, so make the left turn when you can see parking lots. You will use the parking lot on the right hand side.

If you have any questions, shoot me a message.

Best of luck to you!


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