Minimal Swim Documentation Template

by Evan Morrison. 22 December 2017.

What follows is a template for recording what I’d consider the absolute bare minimum level of detail for documenting a marathon swim. Below this minimum level, it’s called a training swim!

Please bear in mind, the minimally-documented swim is not a well-documented swim - those have a formal observer log (completed by someone who knows what they’re doing), photos, video, a GPS track, and other useful data.

Some swims may not require the MSF Documented Swims gold-standard level of documentation. For these cases, it seems worth defining “minimally sufficient documentation” - sufficient to be added to the LongSwims database, or sufficient for someone writing a history of the sport 20 years hence.

Minimal documentation answers five questions (just like maximal documentation, but with far less detail).

By the way: Openwaterpedia profiles and DNOWS articles are not swim documentation!

Here’s the template:



  • name
  • gender
  • nationality
  • hometown
  • age on date of swim
  • other documented swims (if any)
  • contact email

Support Team

  • names
  • roles (observer, support crew, etc.)
  • escort vessel

Swim Parameters


  • list of all swimwear & equipment used by swimmer
  • deviations (if any) from standard unassisted rules


  • body of water
  • specific start location - if any ambiguity, use coordinates.
  • specific finish location
  • intermediate waypoints (if any)
  • route distance (i.e., sum of straight-line segments connecting start and finish via shortest swimmable path)

Swim Results

  • start date, time, and timezone
  • finish date, time, and timezone
  • elapsed time - hours, minutes, seconds
  • summary of conditions - range of wind, water temp, air temp

That’s it! A swimmer or observer should be able to fill this out in a few brief minutes - thus recording the basic facts of the swim for posterity.

Here it is as a downloadable/printable PDF:

If you want to go further, into “well-documented swim” territory, take the above template and add:

And if you want to go even further, may I suggest some light reading.

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