La Jolla Cove Swim sees another successful year

Valorie Hirsch | September 11, 2023

La Jolla Cove came alive for the annual La Jolla Cove Swim on Sunday, Sept 10.

The historical event, originally called the Rough Water Swim, has been around since 1916.  

This year’s swim, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, boasts three different courses of varying distances, including the 250-yard “Garibaldi Groms” course, the one-mile triangular “Jewel” course, and the three-mile “Leopard Sharks” course that goes to the Scripps Pier and back.

With each heat, swimmers were cheered on by the crowd and barking sea lions.

Aaron Brennan, the director of this year’s swim, said it “exceeded expectations. It went very, very well.”

Brennan said this year, more than 600 swimmers registered for the swim, an amazing turnout topping last year’s count by almost 200.

On race day, 23 lifeguards were on staff, as well as two rescue watercraft in the water. “It’s paramount as a race director to make sure that nothing goes wrong, and if it does, we have the best lifeguards in the world to respond to it,” Brennan said. 

As for next year, Brennan says he has “already committed to running it…I want it to be the best event possible.” 

He says for next year’s swim, he wants to make some improvements to the age group categories and prizes, but was happy with this year’s improved electronic check-in, which he says was a “fantastic addition.”

He looks forward to the event’s growth and hopefully will see more kids participating, saying this year he was incredibly proud to have brought back the junior race.

The level of community support and volunteers help make the event run smoothly. 

“I had amazing volunteers… there’s so many people from Kiwanis, from the community, Wind & Sea Surf Club, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, the La Jolla Cove Swim Club, just people who reached out to me and said ‘Hey, I want to help with this,’ and they showed up en masse, and they’re really what make it happen…grateful beyond words to the volunteers.”
Aaron Brennan, La Jolla Cove Swim Director

Brennan has participated in the cove swim many times over the years, swimming in the race and helping work the event. Having spent eight years as a lifeguard, he was inspired to do a fundraiser for the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego, a cause he’s passionate about. 

When he brought the idea to Judy Halter, who has run the event the last several years, she gave him the offer he couldn’t refuse, to run this year’s race, and “the rest is history, I guess,” said Brennan.

For anyone interested in participating in an open water swim like the La Jolla Cove Swim, Brennan recommends they start by looking into the La Jolla Cove Swim Club to strengthen their ocean water swimming skills, as it’s “very different from swimming in a pool.” 

This year’s race was swimmer Corbin Brown’s second time participating. 

The event “was an awesome one, for sure,” Brown said, but conditions could have been better, as the water was a little murkier than last year. He said, “It makes no difference for me, but it’s always more fun when it’s clear because you get to see the fish and sharks and other ocean life.”

Brown was also happy to see how the junior race was handled, saying it “was really cool to see them. It seemed like they were all given the opportunity to complete the race. Sometimes people get frustrated with, like, kids taking their time or not being like very quick. I thought it was really cool that they let them do what they needed to do to finish.”

Brown said he noticed “there’s not very many 20- to 35-year olds swimming at the cove.. I’d say it’s more people in their 40s swimming there,” so he’d like to see the La Jolla Cove Swim Club grow to include the younger generations.

When asked what advice he would give new ocean water swimmers when preparing for next year’s race, Brown said, “Jump in the water…wake up in the morning and show up… It’s worth it.”

“I’m definitely going to do it next year. It’s special that I get to participate in events that start at my home ocean swim spot. It’s cool that the locals come see us and see what it’s all about and people come from out of town, cool recognition for the ocean swimming sport. … I hope it continues … for several years,” he said.

You May Also Like

La Jolla Cove Has the Bluest Water in California and Ranks Fifth Nationally

June 29, 2023

Travel experts at SIXT color-picked 53 waterways across the U.S., revealing where the bluest waters…

Read more

La Jolla Ranks #4 in Most Desirable U.S. Neighborhoods

April 20, 2023

A recent study by HouseFresh analyzing Zillow searches reveals that La Jolla is the #4…

Read more

The Best La Jolla Bars for Cocktail Hour

December 12, 2022

Before ordering a meal in La Jolla, do yourself a favor and leave time for…

Read more
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial