August 1st, 2020

We believe everyone has a right to fishable 

swimmable rivers and lakes.

The Milwaukee River has come a long way in recent history and the evidence is clear: Milwaukee has seen two dams removed, an increase in fish biodiversity, the establishment of a protected Milwaukee River Greenway, an abundance of anglers and kayakers, and downtown revitalization efforts that began with a Riverwalk and now extend to the Harbor District where the Milwaukee meets the Menomonee and the Kinnickinnic Rivers. ​

While we have come a long way, there is still work to be done to continue improving water quality and removing barriers to who can reasonably access and enjoy our waterways.  Through community engagement with over 1300 Milwaukeeans, Milwaukee Water Commons created a Water City Agenda.  You told us that in order for Milwaukee to be a true model water city ALL residents need to have fishable swimmable waterways and meaningful water experiences.


It's time to celebrate, protect, and reclaim these waters for all.

This is our swim in our river.

Let's jump in together, Milwaukee!


Your safety is our #1 priority.

We will test the water to make sure it meets all safety standards. The race will be canceled in the event of:

  • Recent significant rainfall

  • Severe weather & lightning

  • Poor water quality tests 


  • Paramedics & lifeguards on duty

  • Safety kayaks in the water

  • Mandatory bright yellow swim caps (provided by us)

  • Restricted boat traffic during race

  • Coordination with the US Coast Guard and Milwaukee Police

  • US Masters Swimming sanctioned


Will open March 1st!

Video by Joel Peregrine

Whose idea was the Cream City Classic anyway?!

Believe it or not, we're not the first to organize an open water swim in a historically polluted waterway. Check out these other events all over the country:

Charles River Swim - Boston, MA

Human Access Project - Portland, ME

Madison Open Water Swim - Madison, WI

Swim For Grand Traverse Bay - Traverse City, MI

This event is organized and hosted by

MWC logo long montserrat lt caps.png

Water quality monitoring & testing by



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© 2019 by Milwaukee Water Commons