The River Rats (RATS) are an official U.S. Masters Swimming open water workout group in Louisville, Kentucky. The Rats were started to bring SKY swimmers together to enjoy the beauty of open water swimming and host events for the USMS community nationwide. Our mission is simple— to enjoy the best qualities of swimming, together.
The founding members John Fischbach, Coach Mike Jotautas and Head Coach Andrew Magazine credit fellow founder Michael Johmann as the “founding grandfather” of the Rats. Through the years, Johmann trained for recognized open water swims including completing the Open Water Triple Crown and the only recorded crossing of the Ohio River without a wetsuit in 47.5F water temp in February 2017. Many of his teammates from Swim Louisville Masters would train with him in the pool to help prepare him for these races. Fischbach played a huge role in training with him in the Ohio River. In the spring of 2017, Jotautas and Magazine joined them to train for the 12 mile Swim Around Charleston as Johmann prepared for his attempt to cross the gap from Ireland to Scotland.
The group quickly discovered the beauty of open water swimming and began catching the attention of other swimmers. From experiencing the sunrise in the river to the camaraderie as open water teammates, the Rats found there was much more to swimming than what the pool deck, walls with flip turns and swim meets had to offer.
By summer 2017, the Rats had doubled in size. On the 4th of July, 2017 the group held the Silly Seven-- a seven-mile swim down the Ohio River. An impressive number of ten swimmers (some were total beginners!) and five kayak volunteers showed up. A few weeks later, on Labor Day, eight swimmers completed the first unofficial Bridge to Bridge eight-mile swim from the Lewis and Clark Bridge to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge to finish out the summer.
The River Rats officially registered with U.S. Masters Swimming in March 2018 and plan to host supervised practices in the Ohio River through the spring and summer and facilitate competitive opportunities in the Ohio Valley area and beyond.
Official practice INFORMATION
The only officially recognized RATS practice is on Sundays at 7:00am.
The River Rats "home base" is:
Louisville Community Boathouse
1325 River Road
Louisville, KY 40206
Google Maps directions available here.
All River Rats team members MUST be registered with U.S. Masters Swimming or have a USMS 30-day-trial form on file with the USMS National Office. There are NO exceptions to this rule.
USMS-registered participants may use the forms below to sign up for practice.
If you are not USMS-registered and need information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP before practicing.
*** PLEASE NOTE ***
DUE TO THE KYLMSC MINI MEET @ LAKESIDE SWIM CLUB ON SUNDAY, JULY 8, RIVER RATS PRACTICE WILL BE HELD AT 6:15AM INSTEAD OF THE USUAL 7:00AM!