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Local Swimmers Recognized by La Jolla Cove Swim Club

04. January 2013

Local Swimmers Recognized by La Jolla Cove Swim Club

As one who loves open water swimming I can attest to the fact that La Jolla Cove and the bay between the Cove and La Jolla Shores is one of the best places in the world for ocean swimming.

Making the experience even more enjoyable, hundreds of us water buffs smitten with the breathtakingly beautiful underwater park belong to the iconic La Jolla Cove Swim Club (LJCSC) – an fun outlet for swimmers of all ages, shapes, sizes and skill levels who want to share the joy with others who love open water swimming.

The LJCSC sponsors a variety of both “social” and competitive swim events throughout the year along with several fun-filled “socials…” sans Speedos!    In fact, Club members, both old and new recently gathered at the Bridge Club overlooking our beloved Cove to celebrate the year’s accomplishments of our members.

What a great evening!  It was a rare opportunity to get together in a non-swimming setting to meet one another on “dry land.”   I barely recognized some of my swim pals without goggle marks on their faces and soggy kelp in their hair!

The evening was a celebration of our swimmers’ achievements…everything from individual milestones (swimming to the ¼ buoy for the first time!) to world record premiere marathon swims.

As emcee, it was my honor to interview several Club members about their remarkable 2012 swims.  San Diego’s own “Fantastic 4,” Dave Smith, Barbara Held, Cindy Walsh and Steve Green shared highlights from their sensational swims from Dover, England  to the French Coast – amazing feats, as the English Channel is the swimming equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest!

Fellow Club member, Tom Hecker traveled “down under” and successfully tackled the difficult swim across Cook Strait between the North and South islands of New Zealand.  Having already made several challenging swims around the world, the affable Hecker just shrugged and told us Cook was the last of the marathon swims on his “bucket list.” (I’m not buying it!)

And then there’s Gracie Van Der Byl. San Diego’s “Amazing Grace” set a stunning world record crossing the choppy Catalina Channel in 7:25…the fastest time ever for a woman orman! With characteristic humility, Gracie described her experience conquering the “8 Bridges” Hudson River Swim. In seven consecutive days, Gracie covered a whopping 120 miles in the river.

Looking to the future, 13 year-old Jacee Frivaldo was named Club “child prodigy.  She placed first in several local swim competitions and swam Alcatraz…for the 7th time.  (Go ahead…do the math. Jacee made her first “escape” from Alcatraz when she was only nine!)

San Diego is home to some of the world’s best swimmers.  They are an inspiration.

But also honored were club volunteers and several swimmers with er, rather memorable swim experiences.  Doug Burleigh, Dave Smith and Carol and Bob Adams took home awards for the most encounters with sting rays in 2012.  Ouch!

If you’re a swimmer tired of following the blue line on the bottom of the pool, give the Cove a try.  You won’t find lane lines in La Jolla Cove…only fascinating underwater plant life, neon orange Garibaldi, giant, black sea bass, friendly leopard sharks, awesome bat rays and more.  Start now and you might just win a 2013 personal milestone award for first winter swim!

Sea you at the Cove.


Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@palomarhealth.org.