What if you want to go for a real, long swim? Say, a few miles? Lifeguard Tower 26 in Santa Monica is an unassuming lifeguard tower, next to large parking lots and a bathroom/shower facility, which acts as home base for both official and unofficial ocean swim groups. Among the official groups — which operate May through November — a membership fee–based training program, aptly named Tower 26, hosts Wednesday and Friday swims at 6 a.m. with the motto “Be race ready.” Pur Pak and TriFit co-host free coached swims on Fridays at 6:30 a.m., and Southern California Aquatics (SCAQ) and California Triathlon host free coached swims Thursdays at 6 a.m. —Eve Weston
Lifeguard Tower 26, Barnard Way and Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica, 90405. Pur Pak/TriFit, (310) 829-2227, latriclub.com/resources/event_detail.php?id=7041. SCAQ/California Triathlon, (310) 390-5700, californiatriathlon.org/ocean-swim-series.html. Tower 26 Swim Program, (310) 432-3683, tower26.com.