© 2023 Cincinnati Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

What It's Like To Swim The Ohio River

ohio river swim
Courtesy of the Great Ohio River Swim
Swimmers enter the water at the Serpentine Wall for the Bill Keating, Jr. Great Ohio River Swim.

The Bill Keating, Jr. Great Ohio River Swim – the only open water swim to cross the Ohio and back – takes place Sunday, Sept. 22. It's a rare opportunity for a swim across the river under controlled conditions. The Ohio will be closed to all barge and power boat traffic during the event.

Participants enter the water at the Serpentine Wall, swim to the Newport side and then back, finishing at the Public Landing.

The first Ohio River Swim was held in 2007. In 2017, the event was renamed in honor of Bill Keating, Jr., who was one of the first to sign up for the original swim. He won the male swimmers competition that year, but lost the overall title to his daughter, Caroline.

Joining Cincinnati Edition for a preview of this year's Bill Keating, Jr. Great Ohio River Swim and for a look at a new program designed to teach kids to swim and certify as lifeguards are Adventure Crew Executive Director Kirsten MacDougal; Adventure Crew Board Member and Deputy Director for the Ohio River Swim Jerry Schulte; and SwimSafe Pool Company Director of Management Operations and a member of the Ohio River Swim leadership team, Shane Wiggins.

The Ohio River Swim, benefitting Adventure Crew, starts at 8:15 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Serpentine Wall and ends at the Public Landing. Registration and packet pickup for pre-registrants is from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. There is an open water swim with Caroline Keating at 7:30 a.m.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

Never miss an episode by subscribing to our podcast on your favorite provider. And if you have a chance, please rate, review and share with friends: 

Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.