Healing Our Waters

Healing Ourselves

The Milwaukee River has come a long way in recent history. We've 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've come a long way, there is still work to be done.  We must continue improving water quality, removing barriers to access, and creating pathways to our communities of color who have been disconnected from the water due to a history of cultural, systemic racism and segregation. In solidarity with People of Color and Indigenous people we can do better and we will. 

The Cream City Classic is an opportunity to celebrate progress made in water quality and welcome our entire Milwaukee community back to the water as we all lift our expectations of what our waters can be. Please join us!

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

This is our water. Let's swim it!

Sanctioned by



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 neon swim caps 

  • Restricted boat traffic during the race

  • Coordination with the US Coast Guard and Milwaukee Police

  • US Masters Swimming sanctioned

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 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


414.763.6199 ext.1

This event is organized by

Water quality monitoring & testing by

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© 2020 by Milwaukee Water Commons