Brighton Beach A “Swimming Mecca”

Source: wheany/Flickr

Brighton Beach has a lot in common with the English Channel. After all, Wall Street Journal has discovered that some expert swimmers are using it as a training spot before heading to other ends of the globe like the Bering Strait and Beagle Channel, since the local beach offers similar hard-to-find conditions.

The waters of Brighton, protected from rough tides by Breezy Point and Sandy Hook, New Jersey, make swimmers accustomed to the conditions that can be found in an open water swimming meet. But it’s safer than just dropping into the ocean, since it allows swimmers to exit the water whenever they want.

“You find the same conditions you encounter in the middle of the ocean… but it is a pretty safe training ground,” says Cristian Vergara, a founding member of the Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers (CIBBOWS).

CIBBOWS is a non-profit group that’s dedicated to serve all swimmers on all levels. The group gives swimmers the opportunity to practice in open water year-round while offering advice to fellow members.

With the growing popularity of open-water swimming, it became a Olympic sport in 2008. So move over Coney Island Polar Bear Club, you have some competition.