Dan Simonelli is an American open water swimmer who is the Founder and Director of Open Water Swim Academy, (OWSA). The Mission of OWSA is to provide a safe and supportive environment for teaching and training aspiring open water swimmers of all ages and skill levels with the desire to experience the joys and adventures of ocean swimming, recreationally and competitively, and to learn from and swim with some of the world’s best.
OWSA is committed to promoting and expanding the sport of open water swimming among people of all ages and skill levels, competitive or non-competitive, and for anyone that wants to experience the joys and wonders of the open water!
Proceeds help support non-profit organizations, such as 'Jacee For Kids' (helping young people achieve their goals and live their passion, and committed to expanding the community of open water swimming for kids); and The Arch Academy, San Diego (an alternative school where "normalcy" is bashed aside and inspired thought begets inspired action! And the entire student body swims open water!)
Dan grew up in Stockton, CA and has been swimming since 4 years old (when his older brother wouldn't let him lie and say he was 5 to join the swim team!). Dan swam on and off through school and some in college as he tired of the pool experience. Then, while in the Marine Corps stationed in Oceanside, CA, he began swimming in the ocean and racing in triathlons. He later became an Ocean Lifeguard for the City of Oceanside and the experience and joy of swimming in the ocean nearly everyday has never left him. In recent years Dan began swimming at La Jolla Cove and became a member of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club. Subsequently he got in with a "sordid" crowd of marathon swimmers training for Catalina, English Channel and other great swims, and began to see the endless possibilities of the open water.
Dan is an Official Observer and Support Crew for CCSF and has served as Observer or Support for many Catalina Channel swims.
Dan is also the current President of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club.
Some of Dan's swims:
- 'La Jolla 10 Mile Relay; - La Jolla Tour of Buoys, 5 miles; - La Jolla Pier To Cove, 1.5 miles; - Salt Creek Rough Water, 2.4 miles; - La Jolla 10 Mile Solo; - Numerous adventure swims mostly along California Coast, 4-9 miles.
In Oct 2011, Dan was a member of the Fantasy Island Relay team which circumnavigated Catalina Island (counterclockwise). Approximately 48 miles and one day later, the swimmers finished, including: Tina Neill , Cindy Walsh , Claudia Rose , Kevin Rosenthal, Dan Henry. The concurrent relay team consisted of swimmers: Forrest Nelson, Barbara Held, Becky Jackman-Beeler, Mark Monticino, Bill Crane, Carol Sing.
Dan was also a member of Team Tripod, a group of 3 separate teams of 6 swimmers each that completed a joint crossing of the Catalina Channel in 13 hours 16 minutes in August 2012. The 3 relays swam the exact same pace across the Catalina Channel. The teams started near midnight on Cabrillo Beach and swam out to Catalina Island with Carol Sing as the team leader.
The swimmers included Julian Rusinek, Lynn Kubasek, Carol Hayden, Karl Jacobs, Kenny Jacobs, Tanya MacLean, Patsee Ober, Marc Horwitz, Tom Cook, Dan Simonelli, Kelley Schall, Thomas Johnson, Steve Coopersmith, Natalie Kreitzinger, Marta Gaughen, Paula Selby, Yafa Minazad, and Kim Miller. The support crew included Grace van der Byl, Julie Flanagan, Kevin Eslinger, Forrest Nelson, and Neil van der Byl. The CCSF Observers included Carol Sing and John York.
English Channel Experience
In August 2012, Dan traveled to Dover in support of 5 La Jolla Cove Swim Club members (Kevin Anderson, Cindy Walsh, Dave Smith, Steve Green, Barbara Held) for their solo swim attempts. Dan was support swimmer and crew on two of the swims, Steve Green and Kevin Anderson. Dan also had the fun and thrill of experiencing the Freda Streeter "show" at Dover harbor with her gaggle of swimmers training for the channel.