Redondo Beach hosts Olympic distance ocean swim, ocean swim clinics

Quinn Fitzgerald and fellow WOWSA simmmers checked out the this Sunday's 10 K course in May.

Quinn Fitzgerald and fellow WOWSA swimmmers checked out the this Sunday’s 10 K course in May.

David Mendez

With less than a week before Redondo Beach hosts a marathon-length open ocean swimming race, with dreams of becoming the home of a 2028 Olympic event, organizer Quinn Fitzgerald is nervous—but not for the swim itself.

“Right now, registration is great. Numbers for the race are fantastic. Everyone is pumped and it feels like there’s built-up demand for the 5K and 10K races. But my concern is people aren’t aware of all the cool things we’re doing on Saturday,” said Fitzgerald, a board member for WOWSA, the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Redondo was chosen as the event’s 2019 home after Mayor Bill Brand lobbied the organization in hopes of bringing the 2028 Olympic Marathon Swim to the South Bay.

Fitzgerald and WOWSA president Steve Munatones have been preparing in Redondo since well before their first dip into the waters off of the Palos Verdes Peninsula last May.

Now, with plenty of participants for the swims lined up, Fitzgerald is hoping to draw crowds to Seaside Lagoon to Saturday’s day-long celebration of all things ocean swimming.

“It’s a good problem to have, having so much to promote,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m struggling to weave it all together.”

The day’s speaker series will be headlined by Heal the Bay CEO Shelly Luce, Paralympic champion Jamal Hill and Mayor Brand. Legendary marathon swimmers Paul Asmuth and Melissa Blaustein will also be speaking, alongside motivational speaker Craig Dietz, a  quadruple amputee who swam across the Chesapeake Bay in 2012.

Workshops on open water swimming will be available for all levels. A kids zone, featuring Beach Cities Health District’s inflatable AdventurePlex will be open all day and adults looking to relax can visit the beer garden.

“And then we’re going to have a Guinness World Record attempt, happening live, in an Endless Pool,” Fitzgerald said. Japanese swimmer Yuko Matsuzaki will attempt to swim for 24 hours straight, from Friday to Saturday, in the Endless Pool— essentially, a treadmill for swimmers — with a Guiness world-record adjudicator present. After Matsuzaki’s attempt, the public will have a chance to test what it’s like to swim at an Olympian’s gold medal-winning pace.

Saturday night will close with a Hawaiian luau dinner honoring world record recipients and WOWSA award winners.

General admission for Saturday, Oct. 5’s festival begins at $25; workshops and awards show dinner tickets sold separately. Swim registration begins at $30 for the 100 and 200 meter sprints, up to $100 for the Olympic distance 10K. For more information on WOWSA’s 2019 Ocean Fest, see 

WOWSA Redondo Open Ocean Challenge

Saturday October 5 – Seaside Lagoon, Redondo Beach

8AM – 9AM: Morning Yoga with Beach Cities Health District 

  • All day bouncy playground & kid zone

9AM – 11AM: Wave Makers Speaker Series (Ocean Swimming)

  • Paul Asmuth, Author Marathon Swimming, Sport of the Soul
  • Ned Dennison, President, Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame
  • Melissa Blaustein, From Beginner to English Channel Swimmer in 2 years
  • Ram Barkai, Founder of the International Ice Swimming Association 
  • Brian Meharg, Swimming from Scotland to Ireland
  • Steve Munatones, Open Water Swimming in the Olympics

10:30AM – 11AM: Live Guinness World Record Attempt

  • Yuko Matsuzaki will attempt  to finish a 24 hour swim in an Endless Pool

11AM – 1PM: Get Wet Ocean Workshops for all levels (Meet at Seaside, walk to Veterans Park)

  • Beginner Workshop by SwimLabs
  • Intermediate Workshop by Water World Swim
  • Advanced Workshop by Tower 26

1PM – 2PM: Food Trucks & Beer Garden by Golden Road Brewing


2PM – 4PM: Wave Makers Speaker Series PM (Ocean Giving)

  • Bill Brand, Bringing the Olympics to the South Bay
  • Shelley Luce, President & CEO, Heal the Bay
  • Jamal Hill, Paralympian, Philanthropist, Ocean Educator
  • Sarah Turner, Ocean Psychologist
  • Pablo Fernandez Alvarez, Ocean Plastic Activist 

5PM – 8PM: Hawaiian Luau Dinner & Awards Show 

  • Buffet dinner by Captain Kidd’s + cash bar
  • WOWSA Awards
    • Ion Tiron (Moldova) Nobel Peace Prize nominee for swimming through war zone
    • Josef Koberl (Austria) President of Austrian Ice Swimming Association
  • Guinness World Record Ceremony 
    • Hank Wise, Most swim crossings of the Catalina Channel 
    • Fastest relay crossing of the Catalina Channel
    • Cameron Bellamy, Fastest circumnavigation swim around Barbados

Sunday, October 6th 

Quinn Fitzgerald and fellow WOWSA simmmers checked out the this Sunday’s 10 K course in May.

6:30AM – 8:00AM: Race Check-in, Coffee

8:00AM:  Safety Briefing

8:30AM:  Parade procession to the race start

9:00AM: 10k Start

9:15AM: 5k Start

9:30AM: 1k Start

10:00AM: 100 & 200m Start

10:00AM – 12PM: Food Trucks, Beer Garden, Expo & Massage

1:00PM: Race Awards Ceremony



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