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Ventura County swimmers set world relay record off California coast

September 18, 2010 |  6:10 pm

Six Ventura County swimmers set a world relay distance record and were more than halfway through their anticipated 202-mile ocean swim Saturday.

The swimmers, age 40 to 59, were off San Pedro around 5 p.m. as they headed down the coast toward their destination of La Jolla, said team spokesman Michael Newhouse. They beat the standing record late Friday night when they exceeded the 78-mile mark off Malibu, he said, adding that an international governing body will issue its official finding after the swim is completed.

The men, members of the Ventura County Masters swim club, swim an hour at a time == without wetsuits -- before breaks on an accompanying charter boat.

“We all need a challenge,” said Kurt Baron, the swimmer who came up with the idea. He was interviewed over the phone as he took one of his breaks on the Pacific Monarch. Baron said he had been looking for a hard-to-beat feat after winning two consecutive races across Lake Tahoe.

Known as the Ventura Deep Six, the team posts frequent updates to its Facebook page.  The men are expected to complete their swim no sooner than late Sunday night.

-- Steve Chawkins