The summer open water swimming season in the U.S. is coming to a climax. The oldest continuously running open water race, considered by many to be one of the world's greatest open water events, is the La Jolla Rough Water Swim, now in its 78th year. Traditionally held on Labor Day, the Swim is held in the beautiful La Jolla Cover, just north of San Diego, California.
The Swim has short swims (250 yards) for young children (12 years and under), a 1-mile swim and the elite 3-mile Gatorman® Championship where many former and current Olympians often compete.
Known as America’s Premier Rough Water Swim, the race began in 1916 when 7 men swam 1.7 miles in the beautiful La Jolla Cove near San Diego, California. By 1925, 8 men and 11 women swam the race. By 1950, 105 swimmers entered. In 1984, over 1,000 swimmers entered. In 1998, 2,255 swimmers participated, but in 1999, a cap of 2,000 was placed on the number of swimmers in order to maintain the high standards of the organizing committee.
Swimmers compete in the Pacific Ocean with water temperatures that can be in the low- to mid-60ºF (15-17ºC). Marine life and kelp can be abundant along the race course with water clarity among the best along the West Coast.
Photo of start by Gerry Rodrigues, a multi-time winner.