Nearly every Sunday morning during the summer at the beach end of Ash Avenue, a group of swimmers gathers to apply sunscreen and stretch into wetsuits in what has become a weekly ritual for 20 years.
“We have all levels (of swimmers), from just beginning to swim in the ocean to elite triathletes and ocean swimmers,” said Vic Anderson, who coordinates the swims between late May and late September. Last weekend, the swimmers trickled down to the beach slowly, beginning around 11 a.m., consuming their last gulps of coffee, orange juice and water on the picnic table at what most call Fourth Beach.
Although Anderson has worked at the Carpinteria Community Pool since it opened in 1989, the weekly ocean swim is not officially on the city’s slate of aquatic activities. As a result, the longtime instructor rents kayaks for himself and sometimes other experienced swimmers to help herd the pack. “We basically support the swimmers out there in case we ever have the need for one of the swimmers to rest on the kayak because they’re tired or (not) able to see where they’re going,” said Anderson. There is no charge to go on the outing, but sometimes participants will chip in a couple of bucks for the kayak rentals.
On Sunday, a 1.5-mile course, roped off with buoys, was set up along the shoreline heading east. Alternatively, a 2-mile course westward toward Loon Point is set some weeks. Swimmers decide on their own approach; some participate more for the social aspect, and some focus on the exercise. “I really don’t want to have a…
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