We did it! We escaped from Alcatraz!


(Photo: Water World Swim)

On Saturday we swam from Alcatraz Island to Aquatic Park in San Francisco in the 8th Annual Alcatraz Classic: Swim with the Centurions race.

Woooohoooooo!!!!!! We did it!

It’s a 1.5mile open water swim. And lest  you think we’re nuts, let me tell you, there are nuttier folks out there.

And we swam right along side them. The Centurions are a group of swimmers that have swum the crossing from Alcatraz at least 100 times. Crazy, huh? I know!

There are members of the group that we swam with who have swum the crossing more than 700 times. Nope, that’s not a typo. 700 times! And on top of that these nutjobs swim without a wetsuit—in just your regular old bathing suit with nothing but your epidermis for protection.

Bbbbbrrrrrrrr. Now that’s really crazy!

We wore wetsuits. We not so crazy.


For those wearing wetsuits our race numbers were marked on our hands. Jack was 196.

Jack was pumped up and ready to go. He was itching to get in the water and start kicking ass.


I was 197. I was very nervous. I was praying to just finish the stupid race.

(Jeanne: don’t read this part.) Neither of us really trained hard for the swim, especially me. I would not recommend this to most people doing this swim. It’s a challenging and rigorous swim. You’re swimming in San Francisco Bay and the currents can be quite strong. Both Jack and I pool swim regularly every week and we’re strong swimmers, but we didn’t get into open water until the weekend before the race. And neither of us had an opportunity to swim the week of the event. If we weren’t such strong swimmers I would say that this wasn’t the best way to go about prepping for this swim. Don’t do what we did. Train seriously for it. And train in open water.

(Jeanne: okay, you can continue reading now.)

Having said all this though, I can honestly say that the race is very, very doable. There was a ten year old boy who swam (without wetsuit) and did great. The oldest swimmer was 73 and he did great. There were plenty of kayakers, boats and even water police on jet skis who went right along with us every step of the way. There really was no danger of drowning or getting hit by a boat. If at any time you got a cramp or needed to rest or just wanted to stop, you simply needed to raise your hand and they’re with you in an instant. It’s a very safe race. The only challenge is swimming the distance.

And we did it! WOOOHOOOOO!!!!


Out of 319 swimmers, 279 finished.

Jack came in 62nd at 36min. He felt great, super strong. Had he trained harder he could have kicked serious ass and would probably make the top 30. So he’s going to train for next year. Woohoo! Go, sweetie!

I came in 172nd at 46min. I’m just glad I finished. And it felt great! I got in a groove and windmilled my way towards the donut and coffee waiting for me on shore.


The whole weekend I just marveled at the fact that we swam from “way out there” to “there”. Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, which you can see on the left side of this photo above, you get a clear picture of the distance, and holy crap, it’s a decently far distance.

Everyone who finished got a medal. I think Jack lost his immediately.

I wore my medal the whole entire weekend and even to my big Chem exam on monday morning. Hee.

Silly? Yeah. But who cares!

I was so dang proud we did it!


5 responses »

  1. Kudos to you!! Wear your medal proudly . . . you deserve it (of course I think you’re nuttier than peanut butter getting in that COLD water – but hey – if there were donuts on the other side – I’m might have jumped in too)!!

    Miss ya tons – come down south for a visit!

  2. Ahhhh! You’ve been waiting for this for a while! Good on you!

    Sorry I missed your call this morning. Miss you tons!

    And ditto what Amy said…Come down. Your bedroom’s all ready – soooooooooo…. a n y t i m e.

  3. Yeah yous!!!!! I’m super impressed. I went to Alcatraz on a boat once….I was so tired from all the 12 ounce curls I had been doing.

  4. Pingback: Our baseball season begins … go Giants! « Loonyville

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