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Swimmers finish a swim from the Hermosa Beach pier to the Manhattan Beach pier Sunday in California / Chris Woodyard/USA TODAY

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. - Hundreds of swimmers braved threat of lightning strikes Sunday to compete in a 2-mile ocean swim that ended at the same pier where another swimmer was bit by a 7-foot shark last month.

The now-recovered swimmer who was attacked, Steven Robles, fired the shot to start the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim, says Gary Crum, an organizer and the son of founder of the race. About 1,225 were registered for the race that began at the Hermosa Beach Pier, south of Los Angeles, and ended up at the Manhattan Beach Pier. Gary Crum says he was unsure if any swimmers dropped plans to participate due to the threatening weather, or, for that matter, the sharks.

Sharks are common around the piers, often juvenile great whites that don't bother swimmers unless provoked. Such was the case last month when a fisherman on the pier hooked a shark, which then bit Robles as he swam below. Fishing has since been suspended at the pier. Indeed, Crum said a lifeguard captain told him that a shark had been sighted Sunday near the swimmers, but wasn't considered a threat.

The bigger worry, Crum says, was the threat of lightning. A week before, a rare lightning strike killed a 20-year-old swimmer and injured seven others at Venice Beach, north of Manhattan Beach. Thunderstorms again were in the forecast Sunday. Crum says contingency plans were in place to end the race if strikes were reported nearby, but none materialized.

The pier-to-pier is one of the activities in the International Surf Festival.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Swimmers brave lightning, shark threats in ocean swim

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