I am going on a family holiday to the westcost of the U.S i July this year and wanted to do an Alcatraz swim whilst visiting S.F. I am a reasonable OW swimmer and did a 20KM swim from Denmark to Sweden in little less than 6 hrs. this past summer.
Does anybody know about any official Alcatraz swims, or what would you advise me to do?
Thanks in advance,
Last edited by JBA123; January 3rd, 2014 at 08:23 AM.
I would give up chocolate, but I'm no quitter.
EnviroSports puts on an Escape from the Rock Duathlon which will take place on 20 July. There is a "swim only" option for $125.00.
I have done their "Sharkfest Swim" which is the swim only portion of the duathlon and I think they put on very well run events. I think their events are worth the cost.
I have done the Alcatraz Sharkfest swim twice. Well organized and fun event. They list it as a 1.5 mile swim whjch makes it about 2.4K. You should have no trouble with this swim. Just follow the race instructions as the tide can cause a current and you need to adjust your navigation.
I don't have a link but the South End Rowing club also organizes Alcatraz swims. I have not done one of their swims but have only heard good things. Good luck on your swim and enjoy your trip!
The South Ender's swim is in September.
I have done the Alcatraz swim five times. This is a must do swim and it is just over one mile (about 2 kilometers as the crow flies), easy for someone with your experience.
There are three organizations that I know of that offer this swim:
1. Water World Swim;
2. Swim Art
3. Sharkfest (Alcatraz)
The Sharkfest is sold out for this year and the Swim Art schedule will be posted on line this April 1st.
As an alternative, consider Water World or Swim Art to do a Golden Gate Bridge swim. Very spectacular and just as iconic.
The San Francisco Bay has some very serious currents. Most swims are timed at slack tides. But don't be fooled. There is moving water everywhere in the Bay. So, be sure to follow directions and compensate accordingly. If you swim into Aquatic Park (typical) the opening is only 60 yards wide and is not visible from the jump zone at Alcatraz Island. I usually sight off of the tall building up the hill from Aquatic Park.
My last Alcatraz swim I thought I could swim a straighter and faster line than the swimmers were told. Usually, a gradual arcing course is necessary. As a result, I missed the narrow opening to Aquatic Park and had to have a police boat reposition me. Lesson learned.
This swim is truly a must. Be sure to stop mid-channel and just take in the view. From this vantage you can see Alcatraz Island, the San Francisco skyline, the Bay Bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Your time will mean nothing if you don't stop to enjoy this.
As an alternative, the Golden Gate Bridge offers an incredible swim as well. Swimming under this Bridge makes you really seem small. Currents are definitely a factor so be prepared. Your boat crews know how to time this swim during slack tides but boat traffic can cause critical delays that will cause swimmers to lose that critical slack tide window. Tidal flows reaches about 10 KM per hour and there is no way to negotiate a crossing if the water starts to move. Give the Bridge a try. You will not be disappointed.
Summer water temperatures are about 60 degrees F (16 degrees C). You have to judge if this is cold or not. Most people do these swims with wet suits although there are always the purists who don't.
Have fun. Enjoy San Francisco. Enjoy your swim.
Bay conditions can be windy so be prepared.
Last edited by ChuckL; February 5th, 2014 at 01:47 AM.
I have had Leslie Thomas (swimart) and Gary Emich put together small group swims in the SF Bay area for me. Both are excellent and can coordinate an Alcatraz swim... one way, two way, out and around or variety of other Bay swims.
I did an out and back with Gary, and a Golden Gate Bridge to Aquatic Park with Leslie.
I’d like to hear more about the 20k Denmark to Sweden
I just out SF the other week and did a private Alcatraz swim with Gary Emich. Two of us did the swim side by side. Gary did a great job planning the tides and we were able to set the date. It is a little expensive, but great experience. Do what Dave did and do an out and back.
I wanted to celebrate my 50th birthday with an Alcatraz swim, so I signed up for this Tri-California "Alcatraz Challenge" event on June 29:
I will be doing the Aquathlon: Swim followed by 7-mile run.
Does anyone have any info or experience with these organizers? I have done 1-mile ocean swims, 2-mile lake swims and some triathlons, so I am comfortable with the idea of the distance. And my 1-mile time is in the low 20 minutes, so I think I am ok on general speed. But with the SF Bay's currents and the cold water, I would like to make sure this is a well-run race just in case anything bad happens. This race uses triathlon rules, so wetsuits are allowed and I will be wearing one. (Sorry in advance for those who disapprove, but I am ~110 lbs and would freeze otherwise.)
THANKS for any info!!
I highly recommend swimming with Pedro Ordennes (www.waterworldswim.com). I'vs swum with him on several occasions. Great group. Very professional, a great group of swimmers, and careful attention to safety issues. If you haven't done this swim, you'll love it (I'm a late-starter swimming, and have done the crossing 4 times.