Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

5 Open Water Swim Locations in Austin

Given the recent deluge, honing your swimming skills might not be such a bad idea, and Sharkfest (Oct. 19) and Longhorn 70.3 (Oct. 27) are still on the horizon. Whether you’re looking to test out your wetsuit before race day or take one last dive before the temperatures do, here's a selection of Austin-area waters ideal for swim practice.

Lake Pflugerville
Open year-round to swimmers and closed to all motorized boat traffic, Lake Plugerville is a prime swim spot. The 180-acre reservoir, which supplies drinking water to the city of Pflugerville, is also surrounded by a three-mile granite trail, and there are many bike routes nearby.  A parking lot is located off of Weiss Lane on the eastern side of the lake near the gravel swim beach. The lake is the site of the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon in June.
Temp: 77° F
Location: 20 miles northeast of Austin
Address: 18216 Weiss Lane, Pflugerville, TX 78660

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Walter E. Long Lake (Decker Lake)
This lake, a 1,200-acre power plant cooling reservoir also used for recreational activities like boating and fishing, is the starting point for many area tris, including Longhorn 70.3 and the Couples Triathlon. Area roads are popular with cyclists. Park in the Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park ($8 admission).
Temp:  72-78° F
Location: 12 miles east of downtown
Address: 6614 Blue Bluff Rd., Austin, TX 78724

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Quarry Lake
A private, spring-fed lake operated by Pure Austin, Quarry Lake has an excellent 750-meter swim course. The well-known Splash & Dash series is held here on the third Tuesday of the month from April to September. A Pure Austin membership will get you access to the lake anytime, but short-term memberships and single-day passes ($21.65) are also available. Pro triathlete Colin O’Brady, recently interviewed on our blog, said he’s never seen a better permanent open water swim venue anywhere in the world.
Temp: current temp shown at
Location: North Austin
Address: 4210 West Braker Lane, Austin, TX 78759

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Barton Springs Pool 
Located at the heart of Zilker Park, this historical pool is one of Austin’s most-loved summertime attractions. During the winter or outside of peak hours, the three-acre, spring-fed pool makes for great swim practice. There are no lanes. Wetsuits are allowed, and you might be happy you brought one, because the water feels icy regardless of the temperature outside. Admission fee charged, $3-4 for adults; some times and seasons are free.
Temp: 70° F
Location: Zilker Park
Address: 2201 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704

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Deep Eddy Pool
Like Barton Springs, Deep Eddy is an Austin icon. The oldest pool in Texas (built 1915), Deep Eddy is a 600,000-gallon freshwater swimming pool open year-round. The water is not chlorinated, and wetsuits are allowed. Admission fee charged, $3-4 for adults; swim passes and punch cards are also available for purchase.
Temp: 65-75° F
Location: central
Address: 401 Deep Eddy Drive, Austin, TX 78703

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Other swim locations:
Lake Travis
Canyon Lake, New Braunfels
Inks lake State Park, Burnet

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