LongSwims Event Reviews: A First Look

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histogram of ratings

Last week we launched LongSwims Event Reviews – a new platform for marathon swimmers to rate and review organizers, boat pilots, and local sanction associations. Today we are excited to publish the first batch of reviews. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

In total so far, swimmers submitted 64 reviews of 36 events. 62 of 64 (97%) are “verified” — we cross-checked the reviewer’s name with event results to confirm they participated in the swim they reviewed. 50 of 62 (81%) verified reviews opted to publish their name with their review.

Swimmers rated organizers, pilots, and associations on a variety of dimensions, on a scale of 1 (horrible) to 5 (great):

  • For race organizers: event organization, route/course, social activities, and the cost/value of the entry fee.
  • For boat pilots: communication, piloting skill, and cost/value of their fees.
  • For sanction associations: communication, advice and support, and cost/value of their fees.

Of the 336 total 1-to-5 ratings given by swimmers, 297 (88%) were either 4 (good) or 5 (great).

Swimmers also left open-ended comments. As an example of how reviews are displayed on LongSwims Database event pages, here are two rave reviews of END-WET, a 36-mile swim down the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota:


We’re gratified by the response to this project so far. For swimmers, there’s already a number of useful tidbits on a variety of swims around the world. And for organizers, pilots, and associations, on the basis of these reviews, many can be proud that they are providing valued services.

Finally, we also want to address an interesting question that has come up:

Q: Some of the MSF core team are event organizers or board members of associations that are being reviewed. What happens if I give one of you a bad review?

This is a great question, and thanks for asking! In the interest of transparency regarding potential conflicts of interest among the MSF core team:

  • David Barra is a board member of New York Open Water.
  • Elaine Kornbau Howley is a board member of the Massachusetts Open Water Swimming Association and was previously race director of the Boston Light Swim.
  • Andrew Malinak is a board member of the Northwest Open Water Swimming Association.
  • Evan Morrison is a board member of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association.

Two MSF core team members currently have access to the raw survey data: Jessica Kieras and Evan Morrison. Both have training in survey research and familiarity with the ethical issues in handling data and maintaining respondent confidentiality.

We are committed to publishing every verified review, even if it reflects poorly on one of us, or an organization we represent. For now, we are also publishing unverified reviews, but if this option is abused we reserve the right to change this policy.


Below is the list of swims and events that received reviews so far. The list of all swims available to review is here.