Swimmers Gather for 82nd Annual La Jolla Rough Water Swim

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego
    The 82nd Annual La Jolla Rough Water Swim took place Sept. 9 at La Jolla Cove.

    Hundreds of swimmers gathered at La Jolla Cove Sunday for the 82nd Annual La Jolla Rough Water Swim.

    Each year, swimmers stroke between 250 yards and three miles through the La Jolla Cove surf in the fastest time possible. The event includes different age and distance categories for children and adults.

    According to the event website, the very first La Jolla Rough Water Swim was held in 1916. Back then the event was known to locals as the La Jolla Rough Water Race or the Biological Pier Swim.

    A participant named Charles “Chubby” Shields finished and won the 1916 La Jolla Rough Water Race with a time of 48 minutes. Meanwhile, participant Al Iller set the official last place record that year with a time of one hour and 54 minutes, the swim website says.

    The swim didn’t happen again until 1923 but it officially became an annual event beginning in 1931. The website says a couple of swims were cancelled here and there due to sponsorship changes (1935), a Polio scare (1948) and alleged shark sightings (1959), but for the most part, the La Jolla event has stayed consistent over its 95-year history.

    Over the decades the course of the swim has changed many times but one thing remains the same: peoplekeep showing up to partake in the famous ocean swim.

    Currently, the swim averages 2,000 participants every year.

    “It’s really murky out there and there’s a lot of seaweed, but it is pretty fun,” participant Kyle Petrie told NBC 7 San Diego at the 82nd annual event Sunday.

    Petrie said he’s been preparing for the Rough Water course by taking several swimming classes.

    Mo Matthews, who’s visiting San Diego from Hawaii, told NBC 7 that he participated in the La Jolla Rough Water Swim 60 years ago.

    Matthews doesn’t remember much about that swim long ago – only that he won a “survivor’s medal” for completing the course.

    Matthews was excited to take part in the 2012 ocean swim and said he prepares for events like this by actively swimming at home.