Key West Swims?

dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
edited August 2012 in General Discussion
Anyone have any feedback on the two different Key West Swims?

Swim Around Key West
FKCC Swim Around Key West

Thinking of getting one on my calendar for next year. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer



  • Sign up with FKCC.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Yeah FKCC one. Fun swim
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoMember
    Thanks all.

    Just curious any specific reason to pick FKCC over the other one? - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    I've also heard FKCC is the way to go, but never any reasons. Perhaps it has something to do with the note near the top of the FKCC page? "The Only Sanctioned, Insured and US Coast Guard Permitted Race around Key West"
  • I did the Swim Around Key West and I thought it was an excellent event, and they had a coast guard sanction as well! I've never done the FKCC so I can't compare the two. I will say the trophy from this race was easily the coolest one I've ever gotten!
  • The FKCC swim took over from Randy Nutt a little over 10 years ago and has the support of the USCG and Randy. The other group isn't as well organized and is more seat of the pants.
  • I'd like to open this thread back up for discussion. Based on the advise posted above, last year I signed up for the FKCC KW swim. I must say that I was seriously disappointed in the organization or lack of! This year, I signed up for the "non sanctioned" swim around Key West. I truly hope that it will more organized than the FKCC. They also seem to have a bigger budget for advertising, promotion and yes, giveaways. If you swim around key west, you SHOULD get a really cool shirt and a medal. The FKCC swim was so low budget the shirts were throw aways and they didn't even have banners or anything on the beach to identify the finish line. (and by the way, I didn't see one coast guard vessel). I'd like to hear from those who have swam both. After June, I will be able to give a good comparison of both races. Although I sure wish they would simply join the two races back together and put on ONE heck of an awesome swim.
  • LOSTswimmerLOSTswimmer Oakville, Ontario, CanadaMember
    A bunch of us did the FKCC SAKW in 2012, we had an exceptionally good time, one of the best destination races I've ever done! Having said that, it was not because of the organization, which was just so-so. My impression is that the SAKW is the bigger, more established one, just the timing didn't work for us. I'd like to go back and try the SAKW too, to compare and because it is a great place for a race.

    Cheers, Rob

  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember
    I did SAKW last year and really enjoyed it. The medal is one of my favorites ever since is a small medallion that you can actually wear every day as a cool necklace. They had a ton of giveaways in a raffle afterwards which means the local economy supports it as well.
  • The FKCC swim also recognizes the old records when the race was first established back in the late 80s/early 90s.
  • Just got back from Key West and can tell you that the SAKW is BY FAR, the better race compared to the FKCC Race. Contrary to the "advertisements" the SAKW is fully insured and Coast Guard authorized. I saw Coast Guard boats and Marine patrol boats throughout the race and the committee boats were always within sight as well. The organizers did an excellent job with the pre-race meeting and keeping track of every swimmer in the water. They even had check points at the two bridges and they would clear each section of the race after the last swimmer swam past each bridge. Following the race, there was plenty of food, water, gatorade and prizes for the swimmers, kayakers and family. It was a huge party under a huge tent and everyone received recognition and raffles. The FKCC race did not even have a tent or a finish line banner last year. Sure, they gave out water and medals under a palm tree- but that was about it. Basically, the FKCC race is run by one gal who really tries her best to do it all, but that's just impossible. If you have any questions or issues pre-race or during the race, the help is just not there. The SAKW race is extremely organized and has leads for each area of concern. There is a safety lead, a support boat lead, a race director and tons of volunteers and sponsors. With that said, swimming around Key West is awesome, and you should try it regardless of which race you pick. I'm glad I was finally able to check this off my bucket list.
    Thanks to the tarpon, lobsters, conch, reef fish, turtles, sharks, and minnows that kept me company along the route. And thank you to that Weather Gods who provided a glorious day with flat calm water and perfect visibility.

  • gregocgregoc Member

    Does the RD still swim his own event? That is a no go in my book. It may not be a problem when things go smoothly and as expected, but if there is an emergency that needs the one in charge to make an official decision it doesn't help if he is in the water.

  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember

    Yes, he swims it every year. While I agree with you that it's not the brightest of ideas, he does make it very clear who is in charge and making the calls during the race. He's more of a spokesman, honestly. The group of volunteers who actually run the show do an amazing job.

  • He has a race director that is responsible. I have done SAKW several times and it always goes off without a hitch. This years went well again and the conditions were perfect.

  • pattydhpattydh Member
    I've done FKCC 2x also and this year did SAKW. SAKW was by far the better of the two. It is much better organized!
  • SolitudeSolitude Member

    SillyShark sums it up. I too just got from Key West and swam this race last weekend. I really can't say there was anything I didn't like about this race. As for the organizer swimming this race, I didn't see a problem with that. He had this race so well organized and his committee was in place. They were all introduced the night before and explained what their rolls were. Safety plan was laid out. I actually thought it was pretty cool he was out there with the other swimmers doing his 65th swim around the island. Way to go Bill! I would recommend this swim.

  • SaraSara Member
    edited June 17

    I swam this year's SAKW swim too and the organisation was brilliant. Bill makes it perectly clear that he is not in charge on the day - there is a great team that keeps everyone safe. Having signed up for this swim I was worried by some of the comments on here about the swim, but any fears were completely unfounded.

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