September 17, 2021 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Venice Beach Penguin Club: New Year’s Swim 2014!

The Venice Penguin Club will be hosting the 54th annual New Year’s Day swim on January 1st, 2014! Sign ups begin at 11 am with the swim starting at noon. The event is free! To spectate or participate, meet up on the beach at the Venice breakwater (Windward Avenue at the Ocean).

Venice Beach Penguin Club New Year’s Day Swim 4

Venice Beach Penguin Club New Year’s Day Swim

From The Penguin Club:

History of the Venice Penguin Club Swimmers …

In 1952 Cecelia Klinger moved to Los Angeles from Illinois where she grew up swimming in the icy waters of Lake Michigan. At first she would drive from Hollywood to the beach looking for a good place to swim. After getting caught in big waves off Playa del Rey, it was suggested that she try the breakwater area at Venice Beach.

Soon Cecelia met other swimmers and they got together throughout the year. After a while lifeguard Darrell Willey proposed that they start an informal club. In 1960 the club became official. Since then the New Year’s Day swim has become a yearly event. Cecelia died in 2002 at the age of 94.

There must be truth in what is said about exercise keeping a person young at heart and in good health. Julian Meyers will be 91 in February. Although running is what he calls his best medicine, he enjoys seeing his friends and making new ones on January 1st. “This whole idea was appealing to me to just prove to myself that I can do something,” he says.

Julian also believes that giving something back, preferably of a civic or social value, will increase a person’s longevity. He and his wife co-founded Amigo Day. The concept is simple – greet anyone, any where, your way, on the first Sunday of any month. “We hope to make Amigo Day as well known as Mother’s Day,” he says. “I think it will take me about 30 more years.”

According to long time organizer Mary McGurk, Dick Van Patten Sr. of the Van Patten acting family was one of the first members of the club. It has become a yearly family event. Dick Jr. started bringing his sons Jimmy, Vincent and Nels in the 70′s. “We’ve been having really good luck all our lives,” say Jimmy. “Somewhere along the line we started saying that it must be the penguin swim starting the new year off with that ice cold plunge bringing us luck. So, to stay lucky we’ve been going every year.” Jimmy does admit that it can be tough to get there. “A lot of people say they’re going to meet us but they wind up never showing up because they go to parties the night before and are tired that morning,” he adds. “We always force ourselves to get out there ? no matter what.”

Children are welcome, too. Vincent Van Patten’s sons, Duke age 15 and Vinnie age 12, have joined the older members of their family since they were toddlers. The youngest to take a dip has been about six years old.

Terry Ballantine started out watching his brother Bob. “After a couple of years I decided that I could do that,” he says. “People usually think that it’s too cold or that they won’t enjoy it but once you start, you can’t stop.” Terry’s wife Lorraine helps out at the sign-in table.

Mary Margret McGuirk got involved in the penguin swim in the late 1970′s. “Cecelia kept saying to swim in the winter and I said it’s too cold,” said McGuirk. “I tried it, got hooked and started swimming three or four days a week early in the morning in the winter.”

Although the swim started out as casual, there was always a semblance of rules. About fifteen years ago when the SCAQ (Southern California Aquatics) Masters Swim Club got involved, two courses were devised – one for people who come for fun and another for those who want to compete. All participants received certificates. A male and female who have the fastest times in the competition course are crowned prince and princess. The king and queen from the amateur course are chosen by Mary. The Los Angeles County life guard on duty will determine the length of each course which is dependent on weather conditions.

While it is agreed that swimming is a healthy exercise, it is important to remember that all participants should be healthy to begin with. Swimming has inherent dangers and is strenuous, especially more so in winter when the temperature on past January firsts has ranged from 52 to 58 degrees.

There is no entry charge to participate. Commemorative tee shirts are sold to pay for permits and insurance. Snacks and hot drinks are provided courtesy of the Sidewalk Café.

To start your new year off the right way, join the Penguin Club swimmers on January 1st at noon at the breakwater at the end of Windward Avenue. Sign up starts at 11:00am on the beach.

The first man and woman to complete a 500-yard swim around a buoy and back will be crowned the penguin prince and princess!

 

Related Posts

Comedian Fuquan Johnson One of 1 of 3 Dead Following Suspected Overdose at Venice Party

September 7, 2021

September 7, 2021

Early Saturday morning incident remains under investigation By Sam Catanzaro Comedian Fuquan Johnson was among one of three people who...

Final Weekend of Marina Drive-In Movie Summer Series With New Movies Added

August 28, 2021

August 28, 2021

WHERE: Marina del Rey Boat Launch Ramp, 13477 Fiji Way at Parking Lot #2 COST: $20 per vehicle, per movie...

Market Report: What is the Difference Between a Peach and a Nectarine?

August 25, 2021

August 25, 2021

Today at the Santa Monica farmers market Murray Farms answers all of our stone fruit questions in this video brought...

Main Street Traffic Closures Return This Weekend

August 20, 2021

August 20, 2021

Sharing an Open Main Street back for second time this summer August 21 – 22 By Sam Catanzaro  The summer’s...

Venice Restaurants Vie for Michelin Stars

August 19, 2021

August 19, 2021

Prestigious guide returning to California next month By Kerry Slater The Michelin Guide is returning to California next month after...

Venice Outdoor Venues Offer Maskless Event Experience

August 15, 2021

August 15, 2021

When mask mandates were lifted across California last month, the citizens of Los Angeles County breathed a collective sigh of...

Calico Yacht Charter Provides Luxury Water Experience For All Ages

August 6, 2021

August 6, 2021

By Toi Creel Everyone goes to the beach on the Westside. It’s part of the culture. But imagine experiencing the...

What Health Conditions can be treated with marijuana?

August 3, 2021

August 3, 2021

Marijuana has become more popular over recent years due to continuous legalization efforts across the world. This has been majorly...

Critical Questions to Ask a Contractor Before They Remodel Your House

August 3, 2021

August 3, 2021

Hiring a contractor can be a terrifying venture. You’ve probably heard the horror stories. Maybe you’ve heard rumors about half-done...

Choosing the Ideal Jewelry Piece

August 3, 2021

August 3, 2021

Jewelry is a crucial element for any outfit as well as for the overall appearance. The right rings, watches, bracelets,...

Millions of Gallons of Partially Treated Sewage Continue to be Discharged From Hyperion Plant

August 2, 2021

August 2, 2021

Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant still not operating at full efficiency following July spill  By Sam Catanzaro Three weeks after a...

Update on $870M UCLA Student Housing Expansion Project

August 2, 2021

August 2, 2021

UCLA is expanding student housing with 3 buildings currently in development. Video brought to you by Hillside Memorial.

Tips for Planning the Perfect Venice Beach Wedding

August 1, 2021

August 1, 2021

When it comes to destination weddings, few surpass the beauty and majesty of ceremonies set on a beautiful beach. For...

4 Foods That Will Make Your Skin Glow

August 1, 2021

August 1, 2021

There are a lot of things that can affect the health of your skin. We all desire beautiful skin that...

20-Year-Old Fresno Man Killed in Venice Shooting, Crash

July 30, 2021

July 30, 2021

No arrests made in connectio to Tuesday incident By Sam Catanzaro. Officials have released the identity of a 20-year-old man...