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ChrisM
July 13th, 2005, 01:08 PM
Doing the Alcatraz SharkFest Saturday. I've done two OW swim tris, and a bunch of OW training in the last few weeks. Any Alcatraz-specific advice re: sighting, when to get off the ferry, etc??

Chris

Maryyyyyy
July 14th, 2005, 10:37 AM
Hi - I've never done an Alcatraz swim, but since no one else is answering you, I'll come in... I grew up in Berkeley swimming sometimes in the Bay, and sometimes in the Pacific, but that doesn't make me expert, especially since I've been swimming in the (warm) med for 22 years.

They have good advice about swimming in the bay on the sites of the
Dolphin Club (http://www.dolphinclub.org/index.html) and the South End Rowing Club (http://www.south-end.org/swimming.shtml). I suggest you check those out.

The most important thing is to prepare yourself for the cold water (50 - 65 degrees f) and the best way to do that is to do some swimming in the bay before the race.

Can't help you with the ferry jump... sorry!

HAVE FUN!

beireland
July 14th, 2005, 11:39 AM
I've done the swim several times before. The strategy on the ferry jump is do you want to spend more or less time in the water waiting for the start of the race. I don't know who is doing the race you are doing but my experience is that they have different strategies. Sometimes they will assume that the competitive swimmers are going to get in quickly and they will start the race as soon as the last swimmer touches the water even if that means that everyone is spread out and some swimmers are pretty far behind the start line. So if you want to race, get in early and move ahead. If you are concerned about the water, get in towards the back, start swimming easily as you get in, moving towards the start line. By the way, when you do jump in the water, immediately move away from the boat. There is someone else waiting to jump right where you landed and you really don't want to be there when they do. Particularly if they aren't paying attention.

The best way to get used to water temp is to swim in it.
To do that, you can pay a day use fee and use either the Dolphin Club or the South End Club to adjust to the water by swimming in Aquatic Park. You can also just use the beach there but be careful what you leave sitting around if you aren't using one of the clubs.

http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/ports_screens/sfscreen.shtml is a website that has Bay information--it doesn't look correct to me. I would expect the water to be between 56 and 64--and probably closer to 58 or 59. Its cool but doable for most people without wet suits.

Listen to the pre-race instructions regarding what to aim for while swimming the race. There are strong currents in the bay and taking advantage of local knowledge is good strategy. If they say aim left, or aim straight, or aim right--do it. Good luck.

F'ueco
July 17th, 2005, 07:54 PM
The water temp in Richmond and Alameda will be warmer because they are not in areas that are as affected by the currents or the cold water coming out of the Delta.

The water temp yesterday in Santa Cruz was 59, and in my experience, that temp reflects better what the temps near the Golden Gate and Alcatraz will be. It very rarely gets above 62 in that part of the bay.

As for jump strategy, some races are now putting timing strips in the exit of the ferry. That way, your clock starts when you step on the strip. It's still better to get off the ferry as soon as you can, otherwise you will be trampled by the slower swimmers.

I guess this comes a bit late. Hope you had a good time. I'll be doing my third Alcatraz swim in 13 days. :)

ChrisM
July 18th, 2005, 01:57 PM
Thanks for the replies. SharkFest is a GREAT swim!!! Very well run, lots of people cheering you on.

Swim went much better than expected, but it's hard to judge from prior year's times because the course is finicky I guess. The outgoing tide hit with a vengeance this year, I was near the lead group and had to swim like he(( to get out of it and into Aquatic Park. Lots of people, I heard reports of 150 or more, had to be picked up and repositioned for the swim in.

Temp was not bad at all. I'd say 60. Slight shock when jumping in, but not enough to take the breath away. Actually felt quite nice after 5:00 or so.

My time was 34:45, 9/89 in 35-39, 70/449 in men's wetsuit division

Chris

F'ueco
July 18th, 2005, 04:04 PM
Nice!

I may do the Sharkfest next year if I can get my registration going in time. I've done the Alcatraz Challenge the past two years, and am doing the South-End Rowing Club Invitational next weekend. This will be the first time I've done the shorter course (the Challenge course goes to Chrissy Field, which is 1/3 mile longer). I was one of only 25 people doing the swim without a wetsuit. This one should have more crazy people. ;)

beireland
July 18th, 2005, 04:08 PM
South End Rowing will have a lot more bareskins. They usually have the swim finish at their beach which is also a real nice touch. It makes it a little longer swim than landing at Aquatic Park--not a giant difference, but maybe 200 yards or so.

nice job Chris. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

fatboy
July 20th, 2005, 12:52 AM
I just got back from the Alcatraz Sharkfest too. I agree that it was a great event. Well organized.

Great weather for the race.

FindingMyInnerFish
July 23rd, 2005, 01:35 PM
Congrats to the finishers of this swim! I happened upon the web site for it while looking for something else, and it sounds like an incredibly cool event! Altho I have to admit that any event that labels itself a "sharkfest" would make me a bit nervous to enter, I still thought "someday."

Way to go, you guys!

F'ueco
July 24th, 2005, 08:24 PM
You should definitely do the swim. Swimming from Alcatraz the first time; you will be a little nervous. The second time you will be ready to jump when the horn sounds. It just seems cool to be doing something that was once thought to be impossible.

As an aside, the water at Aquatic Park was beautiful today. The wind was making the water a little choppy, and I got plenty of water in my mouth; but it just felt nice to be out there with the other crazies. In fact the salt spray was almost spurring me on. ;)

Maryyyyyy
July 25th, 2005, 07:55 AM
Originally posted by F'ueco

As an aside, the water at Aquatic Park was beautiful today. The wind was making the water a little choppy, and I got plenty of water in my mouth; but it just felt nice to be out there with the other crazies. In fact the salt spray was almost spurring me on. ;)

I just got a terrible attack of homesickness... :(

craiglll@yahoo.com
July 25th, 2005, 11:19 AM
But Mary, if you were here inthe States you probably wouldn't get as much coverage of Worlds as you will get in Italy.

Maryyyyyy
July 25th, 2005, 12:13 PM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
But Mary, if you were here inthe States you probably wouldn't get as much coverage of Worlds as you will get in Italy.

In fact, I've been glued to the tv for days... and now I have to pack! I leave tomorrow to go to the Strait of Messina where I've got 60 souls in the water on Friday!!

Wish us luck!!

Ciao,
Mary

beireland
July 25th, 2005, 12:15 PM
are you running a cross the straits swim? That would be really fun. I visited Sicily when I was in college and would love to go back for a swim sometime.

Maryyyyyy
July 25th, 2005, 12:28 PM
Originally posted by beireland
are you running a cross the straits swim? That would be really fun. I visited Sicily when I was in college and would love to go back for a swim sometime.

sure am! big job! there will be 60 of us. looks like we'll do it next year too, since so many people want to do it. also, if you've got a group and want to organize a private crossing, we can do that too! we've got THE BEST boat pilot who makes the swim really fun... not easy, but fun.

check out our website! www.iswimitaly.it

ciao!
m

anutherrick
July 29th, 2005, 03:08 PM
I'm thinking of joining one of these clubs. I've started swimming in the cove again and really like it. Although it's a real luxury to have two such clubs there I can only join one. Both are located in the SF Aquatic Park
(right next to each other) and dues/fees are about the same. What's the difference between the clubs? Which one do I join? Does it matter? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

--Rick

F'ueco
July 29th, 2005, 05:18 PM
If I lived up there, I'd base the decision on which to join based on which club has the more fun events for members. I'd really like to do something like the Bay to Breakers swim, but you have to be a member of the South End Rowing Club to do that one (and qualify...).

I am swimming Alcatraz in 20 hours! :D

Brian Stack
July 29th, 2005, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by anutherrick
I'm thinking of joining one of these clubs. I've started swimming in the cove again and really like it. Although it's a real luxury to have two such clubs there I can only join one. Both are located in the SF Aquatic Park
(right next to each other) and dues/fees are about the same. What's the difference between the clubs? Which one do I join? Does it matter? Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

--Rick

Both clubs are open to the public on alternating weekdays, I think the fee for club day use is $6.50, or it was last time I dropped in. There are always members hanging around both clubs, and they're always willing to tell you what's great about their club and not so great about the other one. I have swimmers that are members of both clubs, and everybody's happy. The clubs usually combine on several events every year and they usually have an Alcatraz Swim open to Pacific Masters members. The relationship between clubs is genial, they even have a connecting hallway. After swims it's not unusual to find memebers in each others sauna too.
There's an amazing living history of Bay Swimming at those clubs, pick one!

See Ya
Brian

F'ueco
July 31st, 2005, 01:42 AM
Another piece of advice, don't swim too far to the left of the entrance to Aquatic Park. Swimming along the breakwater sucks. I made that mistake this morning and ended up adding almost a quarter mile to my swim, and it was against a slight flood tide. But otherwise a good swim, though I have no idea what my time was. Hopefully the results will be posted soon.

Maryyyyyy
July 31st, 2005, 04:56 AM
Originally posted by Brian Stack
Both clubs are open to the public on alternating weekdays, I think the fee for club day use is $6.50, or it was last time I dropped in. There are always members hanging around both clubs, and they're always willing to tell you what's great about their club and not so great about the other one. I have swimmers that are members of both clubs, and everybody's happy. The clubs usually combine on several events every year and they usually have an Alcatraz Swim open to Pacific Masters members. The relationship between clubs is genial, they even have a connecting hallway. After swims it's not unusual to find memebers in each others sauna too.
There's an amazing living history of Bay Swimming at those clubs, pick one!

See Ya
Brian

I agree with Brian (remember, I was born, raised and blah blah blah in Berkeley)... both clubs are really nice, and plum full of nice people. You might want to try a day entry and swim at each one, just to check it out.

Something about open-water swimming makes us into really nice people.... or is it that really nice people choose open-water swimming as a sport?? :D

wet hugs from the Med!!
Mary

F'ueco
July 31st, 2005, 10:58 PM
Perhaps only nice people can endure the suffering involved in distance swimming?