Redondo Beach is quickly becoming swim city.

The second annual Swim the Avenues event on Sunday, July 14, drew more than 600 aquatically inclined participants, setting the stage for an international swimming event in October — and, if the city is lucky, snatching the Olympic open water swimming venue from Long Beach in 2028.

The prospects of hosting the Olympics is still a long-shot, but dreams are what the Olympics are all about.

Lead organizer for Swim the Avenues, Rick Crump, said he was proud of the attendance figure, which was up from 525 people last year. Roughly 400 spectators looked on from the beach and atop the Esplanade, where viewers had a bird’s eye view.

The setting off the Avenues in Redondo Beac — in the far southern corner of Santa Monica Bay, with the cliffs of Palos Verdes and the unobstructed views from the Esplanade — is what motivated Crump, with support from Mayor Bill Brand and others, to create the event.

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More than 600 swimmers participated in Swim the Avenues in Redondo Beach Sunday, July 14. (Photo by Marci Klein)

“If you look at what the event is supposed to be doing, showcasing the South Bay and what a great venue it is to do an open water swim, then we succeeded,” Crump said. “I’m honestly surprised someone hasn’t put on a swimming event here before.”

Brand, who is a lifelong swimmer, could not attend the event on Sunday, but said that he was pleased with the attendance. The mayor said he has not had any further discussions in recent months with the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympics, but was still holding out hope.

“To have the Olympic open water swim,” Brand said, “in Long beach harbor is a travesty for Olympic swimming.

“We’re showcasing Redondo Beach for open water swimming right now,” he added, “and I’m hoping we pull it off.”

Swim the Avenues consists of a one-mile course and a half-mile course. They also had a team event based on combined times. Taking first place for the men in the full course was 35-year-old Ryan Bullock, from Hermosa Beach, with a time of 22:52. First place for the women was 32-year-old Lexie Kelly, from Newport Beach, with a time of 24:14.

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More than 600 swimmers participated in Swim the Avenues in Redondo Beach Sunday, July 14. (Photo by Marci Klein)

Quinn Fitzgerald, a board member for the World Open Water Swimming Association, came down from San Francisco to observe Redondo’s second annual swimming event in preparation for the WOWSA Ocean Fest in Redondo Beach, a 10-kilometer open water swimming event on Oct. 5 and 6.

“I thought it was incredibly well attended,” Fitzgerald said. “I don’t think there is prettier water almost anywhere,” Fitzgerald said. “There were pods of dolphins all morning long that were beautiful. There is great coastline everywhere, but when you add the backdrop of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, it’s a really a special and beautiful place.”

Crump said the success of the event was best determined by the emails he received in the days following.

“We got so many emails saying it was such a cool beach day,” Crump said. “It was kind of a good buzz to see all the families down there.”

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Swim the Avenues organizers (lef to right) Bryan Mineo, Mike Ward and Rick Crump. (Photo courtesy Rick Crump)

Contact David Rosenfeld at David.Rosenfeld@TBRnews.com, or you can follow him on Twitter @RosenfeldReport.

Digital Editor

David has been working as a professional journalist for nearly 20 years in newspapers, magazines and websites. He's covered murder trials, interviewed governors and presidential candidates and once did a flip in a bi-plane for a story assignment.

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