Pickin’ up good vibrations

Gorordo and Schwartz started a non-profit focused on ocean safety education

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Shivering at the water’s edge, a  group of athletes prepare to stride into the 60° ocean water. First the younger elementary aged kids jump in, closely followed by experienced older athletes.  It’s 8 AM on a Sunday and Ocean Fever, a nonprofit open water swim group, is preparing for their first ocean training.  

Juniors Ina Gorordo and Josh Schwartz are teen leaders that have coached  the program since its founding last year. Through teenage ambassadors like them, and adult “masters,” the group works towards teaching ocean safety skills and eventually open water swim racing.  

“We just saw the need in the community. A lot of swimmers, especially kids, are strong swimmers in the pools, but just don’t feel comfortable swimming in the ocean. Given that we live so close to the beach it seemed like a program that just needed to be made,”  Gorordo said.  

Ocean Fever runs weekly Sunday practices from Memorial Day through October. They not only work with younger swimmers, but also with high level athletes striving to compete in events such as the two mile pier to pier race. 

“It’s really cool to see the different groups of people come together. When we travel for events even the youngest and oldest swimmers form relationships, which is pretty fun to see,” Gorordo said. 

Gorordo started the non profit with her mom, Romina Caristo. Caristo has been a swimmer all her life in both pool and open water settings.  She was a nationally ranked Argentinian swimmer and has been passionate about swimming all her life. Caristo also has a swim coaching license but isn’t currently coaching a team.  

“My mom figured that if she had the license to coach she might as well help, especially since she was already doing a lot of open water work,” Gorordo said.  

The group is a “non-profit organization dedicated to exposing children and young adults to open water swimming, ocean safety, ocean education and environmental awareness,” Caristo said.   

Like Gorordo, Schwartz joined the program due to his love of the ocean and swimming. 

“I’ve been going to the beach and surfing with Romina for almost 10 years, so when she started the nonprofit, it was an easy decision to join,” Schwartz said. “It sort of gives us a way to give back while doing something we love and would be doing anyways.” 

Although the season just ended, Ocean Fever is already looking towards the future. 

“One of our main goals is to enter a team for Catalina relay. It’s a long swim so getting a team might be hard, but we’ve already started looking into it,” Schwartz said.  

Despite all the swimming, those involved feel like they have learned a lot outside of the ocean. 

“I am just lucky to give back to our community. Since it’s a lot of little kids I feel like I’m shaping the next generation. It’s just really neat to be the one that they look up to and are inspired by,” Gorordo said.