Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
Although the water can get cold and rough, Southern California has arguably produced the greatest number of open water swimming stars of any metropolitan area in the US.
Florence Chadwick from San Diego was an English Channel and Catalina Channel record holder.
The incomparable Lynne Cox, who has swum in perhaps more bodies of water than any other human alive, has spent countless hours training in - and writing about - the open water near her home in Seal Beach.
Pomona's Penny Dean (shown above) has held 12 world marathon swimming records, including the English Channel from 1978-1994.
Irvine's Chad Hundeby won world 25 km championships and also held the English Channel record for years.
7-time world professional marathon swimming champion Paul Asmuth trained in Mission Viejo while he was winning an incredible 59 marathon races in his career and is currently leading a resurgence in American elite open water swimming.
Similarly, 7-time world professional marathon swimming champion Shelley Taylor-Smith trained at Mission Viejo to kick-start her incomparable career.
Greta Anderson, a former Dutch Olympic champion and certainly one of the greatest marathon swimmers of the 20th century, works and lives in Los Alamitos.
Most recently, America's two representatives in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics included two Southern Californians: Chloe Sutton of Mission Viejo and Mark Warkentin of Santa Barbara.
Olympic marathon swimming coaches Bill Rose and John Dussliere and innovative channel swimming coach Siga Rose round out a remarkably impressive contingent of Southern Californians in the world of open water swimming.
So it is not surprising that USA Swimming will hold its 2010 national select open water swimming - for many of its most promising long-distance freestylers interested in open water swimming - in Long Beach, California right before the national 5 km and 10 km championships in the same location (Marine Stadium shown on left).
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association