SAN DIEGO, Calif. --At least 20 students from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley were rescued Tuesday afternoon from the waters off the coast of La Jolla, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.
The students were members of a swim team that were visiting the San Diego coast from Riverside County to complete a long-distance swim as part of their second annual beach swim training, officials said.
The group of 62 students were warned that the water was too cold to go swimming in, but the swim team's coaches told the lifeguards their students could handle the swim.
One student had a panic attack while in the water, according to officials with the Val Verde Unified School District.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Marine Safety Lt. John Sandmeyer said lifeguards had to rescue at least 20 other students around 1:15 p.m.
Sandmeyer said lifeguards warned the students and their coaches that the weather conditions were not ideal for the swim. Sandmeyer says it was windy and the water temperature was about 59 degrees.
Lifeguards on water scooters ferried the victims to shore, where paramedics evaluated them.
A 16-year-old girl was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, and at least seven others were treated at the scene for excessive cold exposure.
San Diego Fire-Rescue spokesman Lee Swanson said the "swim was beyond their ability."