73rd annual Huntington Beach Pier Swim draws famed participants

Swim Long Beach Team including champion swimmer Hank Wise. Photo by Chris MacDonald

The water was a cool 61 degrees but that didn’t deter close to 200 swimmers, including award-winning long distance swimmer Hank Wise, from participating in the recent 73rd annual Huntington Beach Pier Swim. Wise’s team, Swim Long Beach, won the Gene Belshe Memorial Perpetual Trophy for this year’s Pier Swim.  The event also saw a new record in the Junior Boys division, surpassing a milestone that had stood since 1986, according to Kaci Thol, Huntington Beach Community and Library Services Recreation Supervisor, who organized the event. 

The swim started on the north side of the Huntington Beach Pier and went around the Pier, which is approximately 1,850 feet long. The event attracted swimmers as young as 12 years old and beyond 65 years of age.  

Hank Wise, who is among the five fastest Catalina Channel swimmers of all time, said: “The HB Pier Swim is special for us at Swim Long Beach. Every year we do a few practice pier laps leading up to the ‘Summer Season’. Today the floodgates were open to the best times enjoying our sport with the community. We have swimmers in most of the divisions, across all heats, and had a great day.”

Swim Long Beach member Adam Lucero said: 

“We swim in Seal Beach every week all year round with no wetsuits under our open water team ’The Sea Monkeys’. A big thanks to all of the organizers, swimmers, lifeguards, and participants. We were very glad to be here and a part of the 73rd year of the HB Pier Swim!”

Huntington Beach Mayor Gracey Van Der Mark said: “I enjoyed seeing all the families who were there supporting the Pier Swim. This is a great tradition for our City.”

Kaci Thol said: “After an exciting competition, a special thanks goes to Marine Safety division and the Huntington Beach City Lifeguards for ensuring the safety of all participants through the race.”

You can learn more on The Huntington Beach Pier Swim at: http://www.hbsands.org . You can also call Kaci Thol at: (714) 960-8870 to get involved in next year’s 74th annual Pier Swim Event. Follow Swim Long Beach on Instagram @swimlongbeach.