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Cream City Classic-Milwaukee's 1St Open
Cream City Classic-Milwaukee's 1St Open
Cream City Classic-Milwaukee's 1St Open

Water Quality

The location and date of this race were chosen specifically with water quality concerns in mind. The swim will occur in the downstream portion of the Milwaukee River where active mixing of water from Lake Michigan (known as seiche) creates improved water quality conditions. In addition, based on historic data, water quality in this lower portion of the river meets E. coli water quality standards (the same standard used for beach health) 100% of the time in August, based on data taken monthly since 2006 (at the Milwaukee River at Wells station). Water quality declines further upstream—the Milwaukee River at Walnut St. only meets water quality standards 77% of the time in August. Holding the race in mid-August also ensures the least amount of precipitation, which reduces the potential for storm-water runoff of pollutants into area waterways.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper will test the water leading up to the race, including the day before the race, and will consult with experts.  The event will be canceled in the event of water quality tests that do not meet safety standards for recreational use in area rivers or local beaches.


Post-race showers will be available for all swimmers immediately following the race.

Safety Personnel

In accordance with our US Masters Swimming sanctioning, we will have the following safety personnel on duty during the race:

  • 8 Lifeguards

  • 12 Safety Kayakers

  • At least one EMT located on the start/finish dock

  • Coordination with the US Coast Guard and Milwaukee Marine Police to restrict boat traffic during the event.

  • Certified Safety Director


The race will be canceled for any of the following reasons:

  • Significant rainfall 1-3 days prior to the event;

  • Flooding conditions in which large debris is in the river;

  • Rain, lightening, or thunder forecast during the event.

Other Safety Precautions

  • All swimmers are required to wear the provided fluorescent swim caps.

  • All swimmers will be accounted for before and after the race using a thorough check-in and check-out system.

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