Two swimmers celebrate from a prior Coronado 4th of July swim. This year's swim will occur July 1 in Glorietta Bay. Photo courtesy of Peter McVey.

Peter McVey,  the Rough Water Swim race director the previous seven years, was going to do whatever it took to have the Independence Day event in Coronado this year after canceling it in 2022 because of polluted ocean water.

So, he moved this year’s race to  Glorietta Bay as an “open-water” 4th of July swim that will take place on July 1, a Saturday, because of ongoing sewage flowing into the Pacific Ocean from Tijuana, Mexico.

McVey sees this open-water swim – the 65th annual patriotic swim event – as an opportunity that may lead to more participants. 

Open water swims are more popular than rough water swims.”

Peter McVey, race director.

“Open water swims are more popular than rough water swims,” McVey said. “They’re a lot less intimidating to a lot of sports enthusiasts. Going through the surf zone is one of the reasons why the race hasn’t really grown past the last couple of years…The feedback we get from people is that the tide and the surf depending on the weather for the day, can be pretty daunting.”

Blessing in disguise

McVey said the pollution crisis, which has frequently closed Coronado’s beaches this year and in 2022, may be a blessing in disguise.

He said the bay swim may attract “more triathletes and more open water swimmers are going to have that opportunity or be more willing to, you know, sign up for the race.” 

A swimmer crosses the finish line from a previous rough water swim in Coronado as part of the Independence Day festivities. This year’s open water swim is in Glorietta Bay. Photo courtesy of Peter McVey.

The race, which began when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House and prior to the Coronado-San Diego bridge being built, worked with the city of Coronado to move the event to July 1.

That was done so the race could have adequate emergency personnel without taking those employees away from the all-day Coronado Fourth of July, which includes a morning parade, concerts, and fireworks.

More info on race website

If participants want to find out where and how to sign up for the event, organizers made it highly convenient and quick so that it can be done in around five minutes, McVey said

McVey said to go to

Then click on the 4th of July race button, which will take you to an information page with other sign up buttons for registration and race information.

McVey also said those who don’t want to compete are welcome to volunteer.

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Andrew Nadler is a sports journalism student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He's a Southern California native whose passion is to work in sports media and to be a storyteller to those who do not have a platform.