On the first day of last year, I was up to my neck in freezing cold water. As I paddled through the surf in the 56th Annual Penguin Club swim, wearing only a thin Lycra swimsuit, not a wetsuit, my only thought was, “What could be better?”

            In previous years, I would’ve been sitting on the sofa eating chips, guacamole and drinking beer in front of a bowl game. But for the past year I have been swimming regularly two or three times a week. Participating in the Penguin Club ocean swim was my reward for all the hard work.  And boy, did it feel great to see each workout pay off in the open water.

            Penguin Club, sponsored and run by Southern California Aquatics (SCAQ), will give you a cool, fresh start to the New Year. Sign up at Venice Beach at 11:00 a.m., where Venice Blvd. hits the ocean. The Penguin Swim begins at noon. The event is free, with complimentary snacks and drinks. Commemorative T-shirts are available for $10.

            Last year, more than 150 participants chose between two courses: one for people who swim for fun (100 yards), and another for those who are up for a challenge (400 yards). Swimmers in the fun course do not have to put their head underwater. Everyone will be emailed a certificate, but the fastest male and female swimmers in the challenge course are crowned prince and princess.

            Turn yourself around on New Year’s Day! RSVP by emailing to SCAQ@SWIM.net. If you can’t make it, we invite you to a pool swim workout and clinic any Sunday in January.



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