View Full Version : Alcatraz Swims

April 7th, 2002, 10:08 AM
Hi Bay Area Swimmers -

I hope to get some info from my Bay Area friends about who runs the best Alcatraz Open Water swims out there. There are 5-6 of us in Minnesota who want to do the swim.

Bill Barthold once told me there were numerous swim coordinators who do this during the summer months.

Thanks for any information you can post my way.

Paul Windrath

April 7th, 2002, 05:04 PM

You might look at the South End Rowing Club web site:


The Alcatraz swim is put on by the Dolphin and South End Rowing club. (This is not a Pacific Masters sanctioned swim).They have the Alcatraz swim in September, when the water is about the warmest it will be - aprox 62 F. (hey but it is a warm 62 degrees). Right now I have heard the water is around 53 degrees (but it is a warm 53 degrees).

If you are going to sign up for this event, do it early as there is a limit of 400 swimmers and it does fill up.

There are other events, but most of them are triathlons and cost a lot more money. I almost forgot, they have the January 1 Alcatraz swim if you want to be here during the holiday season.


Tom Ellison
April 7th, 2002, 09:05 PM
I swam both the Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim and the Golden Gate Bridge Swims in 1997 & 1998. I swam in events organized by Dave Horning at Envirosports... http://www.envirosports.com/
I was impressed with the professional manner in which both events were run. I wold give Enviorsports an A+.
On a side note...in 97 sixteen or seventeen Texans went out with Bobby Patton and Jim Montgomery...and we all swam these event in the NON-WET SUIT Division. It will take some getting used to..but I suggest you swim these events without wet suits..if possible.
Trust me....you are going to have fun....!

Tom Ellison
April 7th, 2002, 09:09 PM
I worked out at the South End Rowing Club a few times while in the Bay Area on business. These folks are really nice people. Based on my dealing with them, I am sure they would put on a great event as well.

May 29th, 2002, 02:58 PM
This reply is a little late, but in 1997 I swam in alcatraz swims both with the south end rowing club and with envirosports. These swims may have changed since then, but my experience was that both were well run, and I think the difference is a matter of style and your own taste rather than quality. The south end rowing club swim was my favorite- it had a homier feel, was more informal, smaller, you got to use the club and its showers, and they had a nice barbecue afterwards. Plus, they usually give some money to charity and the rest goes to club upkeep. Envirosports is a commercial for-profit operation, so it was bigger, more dramatic, more full of triathletes and people used to big competitions, and was connected to more hulabaloo, free gifts, formal finish lines, etc. Although I liked this less, the only real criticism I can say is that I know that envirosports in the previous years did not always time the start of the swim well (which is really, really important- even ten minutes makes a huge difference in currents). But my year it was fine and they may have more experience by now.

Good luck and have fun- I thought it was great!