Emergency Medical Planning for an Ultramarathon Open Water Swim: A Case Review of "Swim Tuff"

Curr Sports Med Rep. 2024 Jun 1;23(6):216-221. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000001172.


Ultramarathon open water swimming (OWS) events are one of the toughest endurance challenges in the world. The sport has gained notoriety with athletes swimming across the English Channel, Diana Nyad swimming from Cuba to Florida, and the 5- and 10-km OWS in the Olympic schedule. The athletes who participate are exposed to dangerous conditions that expose risks inherent to the sport. The optimal time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens. The aim of this paper is to present an emergency action plan (EAP) designed for the "Swim Tuff" event, a record-breaking ultramarathon swim that took place in Rhode Island, United States. This article identifies an overview of Swim Tuff, the challenges experienced, and how the team designed and implemented risk mitigation strategies. The professionals looking over athletes completing an OWS should be educated and aware of the unique circumstances inherent to the sport.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Swimming*