La Jolla – An Open Water Tour


La Jolla (pronounced la hoya) is an affluent area just north of San Diego right on the coast. It is also home to a community of open water swimmers who swim in La Jolla Cove. Coming to San Diego, I sent a few emails which were promptly and kindly returned by the La Jolla Cove Swim Club!

I love finding new groups of people to swim with, and I’ve swim with different Master’s Swimming Clubs across multiple states and with multiple USA Swimming Groups when I couldn’t find a masters team.

While I wasn’t sure if I could coordinate with some club members who mostly come as they can, I was able to contact a guy named Dan Simonelli from Open Water Swim Academy.


He’s a great guy, and he does guided swim tours in addition to training people how to swim in the open water.

This was going to be a new experience for me. Leading up to this, I have really only had limited open water experience. A few swims in Lake Tanglewood just Southeast of Amarillo, a swim in the Stilling Basin North of Lake Meredith, and two decent open water swims in North Carolina Lakes.

The key image to grab ahold of is “Lakes”.

This would be my first extended swim in the Ocean, and I was definitely over the moon excited. It was also the coldest water I’ve ever had an extended swim in at 65ºF. It lived up to my expectations without a doubt. While the waves were too rough for some exploration, we got to see plenty in the two hour period.

I was doubly pleased to last the length of time in the water. There was definitely some fear that the cold would have me headed for the shore. But I took to the water easily and quickly.


This was just a few meters out into the water passed the breakers. It’s odd but you don’t get a sense of the motion of the water from the camera at all. I only had a pair of arena goggles split for easy flip turns in the pool, but they still gave me a great view of all the fish that we could see and the sea weed that I kept swimming into.


I swam down to explore the bottom to see the fish and just to feel the joy of being weightless in the water. Even though the salt water doesn’t feel like it gives you that much more buoyancy, it still makes the floating sensation just different enough from all the pools I swim in.


Here I am posing for the camera by all the Orange Garibaldi. They were a bit too fast for me to grab on to, but I wasn’t trying all that hard. The water was cloudy from all the rolling waves, but sometimes the water out there is a clear as glass.

A few scuba guys got thrown around on their approach to the beach, but without all the bulky equipment we made it in pretty easily just dodging the rocks.


The seals were completely unaffected by my antics in the water, but from what Dan says they do come and play around with the swimmers occasionally. Even just a little while after I got out, I saw a few in the water with some of the other swimmers, and while a little jealous, I think earning a little more open water swimming experience will give me plenty of opportunities to swim with seals.


After getting out, I sat back and watched the waves roll in from the park like terrace on top of the cliffs eating some raspberry gelato. Next time will be even better, and maybe it will be on a clearer day. It’ll definitely be with a buddy, I’m not quite confident of going out on my own.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
This entry was posted in Fitness, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to La Jolla – An Open Water Tour

  1. Wow, I am terrified to swim out in the ocean like that. I know, I know, I should probably learn to feel more comfortable in the ocean seeing as I live near it now, but it will come with time. Love the pics!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s