Trying to Avoid Being Shark Bait

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Kevin Smith

May 10, 2020, 10:14:58 PM5/10/20
to Central Coast Open Water
Hi everyone,
I am fairly novice at swimming as a sport. Been training in the pool for a year or so, but am now forced into open water to train. I've been out to Avila a couple of times now and am finally getting settled in with the cold water.

With the recent shark attack and my swimming solo by the buoys, I feel it's probably better for me to swim with a group, plus I could probably learn a few things about open water swimming too.

My training plan has me swimming W, F, and Su each week for the foreseeable future. My current schedule for teleworking is flexible, so I should be able to possibly flex on meeting times. Generally, I swim in the afternoons, but open to other times. Also, I'm usually in the water 30-45 min depending on my training goal.

Obviously observing COVID-19 distance rules, is there a group out on those days I can swim with or anyone who would like to join me?

Not a dating profile, but I'm:
Male, 39 years old, somewhat fit, training for half-Ironman.

Currently shark bait,


Niel Dilworth

May 10, 2020, 10:30:56 PM5/10/20
Hi Kevin - 
Come on and jump in with us, but it is complicated now. The dark blue text is the pre-COVID response. The swims have always revolved around the Sunday swims at 11 AM, but with all of the other options closed and the beach being the semi-closed, closed and now sorta closed but open, things have gotten fragmented. I've been swimming Tue & Thurs at 9:30 and Sunday at 11 and I've seen about 6 other groups in the water in the morning and there are others later in the day. Everyone is finding how to fit an ocean swim in around their work schedule and the group has become fragmented. There is an text list that is organizing three morning swims a week and I'll include you in the list and/or you can email Tom Lorish at to be included.
Hope to see you out there soon!


Hi! I’m glad that you found us. We swim in Avila Beach every Sunday at 11.  Our swimmers have a wide range of ages and abilities and we are very inclusive.  Many of our swimmers are completive multi-sport athletes but our swims are not structured workouts. The group that shows up decides what they want to do as far as distance and route. It is not unusual for there to be several alternate routes that accommodate different levels of ability. The group varies from 2 to 12 swimmers and the swims are ½ to one hour.  I assume that you are swimming in a pool. Being able to swim for an hour is a good base to start from. When you are considering an ocean swim remember that there is no place to rest before you get out.  Currently the water temperature in Avila is around 55 degrees and will bottom out at around 50 degrees in the spring. The majority of our swimmers wear full wetsuits, although we do have some who prefer less neoprene and a few who go with none. Fins are an option. Some slower swimmers use them to stay with a faster group. This time of year most of us wear two silicone caps and add a neoprene cap in colder conditions.  Goggles are a must. People wear every size from pool goggles to large face masks. It is a matter of you level of comfort with the cold water on your face and which style you find suits your ability to site along the route.

Most people prefer a triathlon style wetsuit. You can find them on line and at GH Sports here in SLO, as well as a good selection of caps.


We meet at 10:30 on the beach at the base of the stairs at the intersection of Front and San Miguel Streets.  We talk about what everyone feels like doing and agree on a route, suit up and get in.

Swims may be scrubbed due to poor water quality (usually after a winter storm) or rough conditions.

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