La Jolla Cove is one of the premier places in the world for ocean swimming. The Cove is part of the La Jolla ecological Preserve, an underwater park that spans 6,000 acres of ocean bottom and tidelands including two canyons that are deep water homes to much marine life. The Cove is filled with sunbathers, snorklers, scuba divers and a sanctuary for many open water swimmers. http://goo.gl/maps/1zFtl
The Cove Lifeguard tower offers great information to visitors daily and is obviously well monitored by our city’s finest Lifeguards for added safety protection. One can see from the whiteboard that the water temp was 64° but with record heat in the high 80’s to low 90’s in La Jolla today, the ocean seemed like a great idea for exercise.
Pre Ocean Swimming
The beach is very accommodating in my opinion and offers a very gradual entrance into the ocean. However, during larger surf, swimmers should be careful of strong surges affecting balance. Today was crystal clear and offered 10-20 feet of visibility so I grabbed my suit and goggles and headed out.
Ocean Swimming La Jolla Cove Map
Swimmers can swim anywhere in the Cove but many swim towards the buoys or the Shores Lifeguard Tower. The first buoy is a quarter-mile out, second buoy is a half-mile out and the Shores Lifeguard Tower is 1 mile. Round trip would be double these amounts.
I decided to swim to the half-mile buoy and back (1 mile total), which took me a little over 21 minutes. Swimming was a big part of my life growing up as I swam in college (University of Arizona) and in many other national/international competitions. This time will vary for many but it’s important to go at pace that is comfortable for you.
Ocean Swimming La Jolla Cove
After I was done with my swim I decided to stick around a little longer and enjoy some of the sunshine and the abundant bright orange garibaldi (California state fish) along with many other fish and seals.
Ocean swimming is a great full body workout and there is no impact on your joints. Swimming tones many muscle groups with an emphasis on shoulders, arms, stomach and legs. Ocean swimming is very different from pool swimming as there is no black line to follow, no flip turns and of course marine life. Ocean swimmers commonly pull their head out of the water while swimming to look where they are going which is why it is important to have a visual point of reference on the horizon, otherwise one will swim in zig zags. Ocean swimming can spook some people because of what may lurk in the water; however, many people swim the Cove daily so go as far as you are comfortable. La Jolla Cove Swim Club provides group swims for those interested and sponsors the “Pier to Cove” swim and supports the popular La Jolla Rough Water Swim (Gatorman). The Tri Club of San Diego runs the Tour of Buoys and the 10 mile relay race.
As with any activity there seems to be gear that is involved in order to participate. I needed a new training suit and goggles so I headed to Paradowski’s Swim and Sport in Kearny Mesa (they have another location in Vista). The staff was very professional and they carry all the top brands for beginners to serious swimmers. I especially like the store because they carry my “swede” goggles (top photo).
Sometimes the ocean is too cold for swimming and a wetsuit is needed for training purposes. Xterra Wetsuits is my choice of brand and is conveniently located in San Diego. They offer many varieties of suits for purchase as well as for rental if you have a race coming up or interested in trying a different brand or style.
I look forward to my next Cove swim and you can usually find me out there if the weather is really hot!