Laguna Beach is a seaside resort city located in southern Orange County, California. It is known for its mild year-round climate, high cliffs, scenic coves, tide pools, rock formations and white sandy beaches. Laguna, which has a population of only 22,000 people, has remained relatively isolated from urban encroachment by its surrounding hills, limited highway access and a dedicated greenbelt. 5.9 miles of Laguna Beach coastline is conserved within a protected marine area and an additional 1.2 miles of coastline is a state conservation. Laguna’s clear waters, with high visibility, are full of life including curious sea lions, friendly seals, beautiful leopard sharks, bright orange garibaldi (the California State marine fish), sting rays, spiny lobster, and even a rare sea turtle.
Laguna Beach Open Water Swimming aka LBOWS is an informal “non-membership” group of approximately 400 open water swimmers who share a love of swimming and training together in the ocean. We do not have a board nor do not collect fees. We exist only to promote safe, group swimming in the waters of Laguna Beach.
LBOWS consists of young and older adults including rookies and first-timers all the way to former lifeguards and collegiate swimmers. Our speeds range from slow to fast. We have swimmers who have completed marathon swims such as English Channel, Catalina Channel and Manhattan Island, but we also include those who just want to “bob” or might be training for a first attempt at a triathlon. Swimmers are free to do as they wish, but we strongly encourage “buddy” swimming in the name of safety.
Although the majority of our swimmers are purists who believe swimming is done only with a swimsuit, goggles and cap, some will utilize wetsuits and fins. We have found that in a short period of time, a swimmer will acclimate to the water (many times by peer pressure) and choose to lose the paraphernalia.
We typically have our largest groups on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but we also swim during the week prior to beginning the work day. We encourage participants to check the calendar regularly for postings of swim times and locations. We also hold occasional social “get togethers” which include potlucks, parties and swim camps where good food is always involved. Many of our swimmers have become friends and support one another’s outside interests and endeavors.