Thank you for a great Open Water Season! Planning is the works for next year!



The Jim Whelan Open Water Festival is an international event hosting athletes from around the globe for the 54th Around the Island Marathon, the Inaugural Green Whales 2K and the Inaugural Pilot Whales 400M. 

In 2020, and years to follow, this festival will have two waves for all events except the 400M; sanctioned and non-sanctioned. 

We also expect to add a 5K to the festival in 2020. 


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Registration will open on February 1, 2019.

All finalizations to the event will be updated here by January 31, 2019. 

Any questions should be directed to the Meet Director, Meet Referee, or Assistant Race Director (listed below). 

Last updated : 03/31/19 @ 7:21 PM 

registration OPEN

The Inaugural Jim Whelan Open Water Festival  is being brought to Atlantic City, NJ by Green Whales Inc. to honor the  late Jim Whelan and to support the Whelan’s Whales swim lesson and  water safety program.  


Jim  Whelan is a former NJ Senator, Mayor of Atlantic City, member of the  Atlantic City Beach Patrol, Atlantic City teacher, and Atlantic City  High School Swim Coach. Jim was a national distance swimmer and has  taught countless Atlantic City children how to swim. To say that  Atlantic City and swimming were a major part of Jim’s life just isn’t  enough. This festival is a great time to get the whole family involved,  introduce the love of open water racing to youngsters and see some  great swimmers compete in a legendary event. 


The Jim Whelan Open Water Festival will bring the 54th Around the Island Marathon (22.75 miles) back to the Atlantic City waters. In addition, the Green Whales 2K and the Pilot Whales 400M will be available. 

The Around the Island Marathon, which started in 1953, has been dormant since 2006. The current record holder, as documented on,  is Stéphane Gomez, from France, set in 2004 with a time of 6:37.09.


Green  Whales Inc is a NJ Non Profit 501(c)(3) that funds Whelan’s Whales, the  Greenheads Swimming age group swim team, and the Greenheads Special  Olympics swim team. Whelan’s Whales is a free  swim lesson and water safety program provided to the children of  Atlantic City. This program is run with Jim Whelan’s belief that all  children living on the island should learn to swim and be safe in the  water. Whelan’s Whales was created by the owners and staff of the  Brigantine Aquatic Center in 2017. Local coaches, lifeguards, and older  athletes have taught over 300 children to swim in 2018, the inaugural year. In  addition, to this wonderful program the Greenheads Special Olympics swim  team was added to the Greenheads Swimming family as a free program  to special needs children. Our Greenheads age group swim team has been a  nonprofit team since 2002, providing year round scholarships and  financial assistance to numerous athletes in Atlantic County.  

All  proceeds and fundraising from the festival’s three events will help  support the Whelan’s Whales program and the Atlantic City youth in their  swimming and water safety success!   

Festival Personnel


festival eligibility

festival entries

festival fees, cancellations, & Refunds

festival fundraising & swag

Featured Products

festival rules & course description

festival hotel accommodations


Green Whales Inc & Little Water Distillery Fundraiser

Green Whales Inc and the Little Water Distillery are joining together to have a fundraiser supporting Green Whales Inc. and to provide information to the Community about the Inaugural Jim Whelan Open Water Festival. The event is being held on June 2, 2019 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the Little Water Distillery 807 Baltic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 (entrance on Lexington Avenue). 

The event will include lite refreshments, a tour of the distillery, one cocktail, and 5 raffle tickets. Additional raffle tickets and donations are available during checkout. Raffle tickets will be used for a basket auction; which includes but is not limited to Atlantic City Overnight Stays, Baskets of Cheer, etc. Raffle winners do not need to be present to win.  

Purchase Tickets!