LA JOLLA (CNS) - The 82nd almost annual La Jolla Rough Water Swim is scheduled for Sunday, with some of the 2,000 expected participants planning to stroke three miles through the surf off La Jolla Cove.
The swim was started in 1916 by organizers of the San Diego-Panama Exposition held the prior year, according to the race website. Seven swimmers competed, including Al Iller, who finished last, and went on to take part in more than 30 of the races, traditionally finishing last each time.
The swim took place only occasionally until 1931 when -- with a few exceptions -- it became annual.
Subsequent interruptions were caused by sponsorship of another exposition in San Diego in 1935, a polio scare in 1948 and, in 1959, reported sightings of sharks. That last time, race organizer Douglas McKellar swam the course anyway and didn't see any sharks.
Courses are 250 yards for juniors, one mile and three miles. The three-mile "Gatorman" course takes about an hour for the winners, according to race results.