Three-mile ocean swim gets youthful injection

Ben Brewer triumphed in Sunday's 3-Mile Ocean Swim at East Beach.

Ben Brewer triumphed in Sunday’s 3-Mile Ocean Swim at East Beach.

Youth prevailed at East Beach on Sunday as a pair of 16-year-olds claimed the men’s and women’s titles at the Semana Nautica 3-Mile Ocean Swim.

Ben Brewer crossed the finish line all alone in a time of 1 hour and 59 seconds. Robert Margalis placed second with a time of 1:02.03, followed by Ian Bidwell in third.

Carina Schipper won the women’s race with a time of 1:04.06.


Brewer, a Santa Barbara Swim Club athlete, enjoyed a comfortable lead for much of the race.

“I was trying to decide before whether I was gonna try and draft off someone and sprint at the end, or just and try and stay out ahead the whole time, and I decided to try and stay ahead. It worked out,” Brewer explained.

It was only the second time in the young winners’ lives that either had swam the 3-mile distance.

“It’s a lot harder for sure because you can’t just neccesarily sprint the entire thing, you’ll get too sore and tired,” said Brewer of the longer distance.

Santa Barbara Swim Club's Carina Schipper won her first Semana Nautica ocean swim on Sunday.

Santa Barbara Swim Club’s Carina Schipper won her first Semana Nautica ocean swim on Sunday.

Brewer had just about reached his physical limit after competing in several events during the Semana Nautica festival. In the past five days, which includes a day off for the 4th of July holiday, Brewer has swam in four different ocean swimming races. It started with a 1k warm-up at Nite Moves on Wednesday, followed by a 1-mile swim on Friday evening and another 1-mile on Saturday morning. He’s simultaneously been racing at the Semana Nautica Age-Group Swim Meet at Los Ba?os Pool over the long weekend.

“It’s been a lot,” Brewer said. “But it’s all been fun.”

Schipper swam the Seal Beach Rough Water 5k last year and has been swimming almost as much as Brewer this week. Placing sixth overall, Schipper beat out last year’s winner Courtney Weigand by 53 seconds.

“I took the first mile a lot easier than I expected to but I got faster as it goes on which isn’t usually how people swim a race,” Schipper said.

Race conditions were calm, with an overcast grey, glassy water and light currents holding through the entire race. The swim starts and finishes in front of the Cabrillo Bath House at East Beach. The course remains parallel to the beach, making the swimmers take just two 180 degree turns during the race.

Like Brewer, second and third-place finishers Margalis and Bidwell improved on their placements from yesterday’s 1-mile ocean swim. Eric Lindheim-Marx, who finished 17th in Saturday’s shorter race, moved up to 5th overall on Sunday.

Weigand, Arjun McAvoy and Lucy Faust can say the same.

Brewer finished second at Saturday’s one-mile, won by Riley Mita.