There isn’t a lot of people that can say that they swam from San Francisco to Alcatraz, but for Gary Emich and Steven Hurwitz, they intend to mark their 1,000th solo crossings of the Bay. In fact, both of them have been training together year-round at the South End Rowing Club, three times a week, for the past ten years. Both of them also hold records for Alcatraz crossings in riptide currents.
“Even after a thousand times you still have to say to yourself ‘you’ve done this yourself you’re going to be OK,’” admitted Steven. The 52-year-old currently holds the record for the fastest two-way swim from San Francisco to Alcatraz in just 56 minutes. As for Gary who is 62 years old, he has already swum throughout the world including in the Amazon River, Loch Ness in Scotland, Lake Titicaca in Peru and Cave of Indians in Cuba. For their swim to Alcatraz, they would both be swimming in only their swim caps and trunks as opposed to a wetsuit.
According to Steven, they intend to swim in one of the harder courses because of the ebb tide, which tends to push swimmers away from their course. This swim also marks the 51st anniversary since the escape of Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin. Attendees who will be present on the swim day include Joe Oakes, the original creator of the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, as well as Robert “Napa Bob” Roper, a retired San Francisco police officer, swim coach and record holder for the fastest swim at the Golden Gate Bridge.
At the event, donations for Hospice of the Bay, the San Francisco Bay Keeper Foundation and the South End Rowing Club will be accepted. This 1.5-mile swim will commence at the east side of Alcatraz Island about 8am and end at Aquatic Park between 8:30am to 8:40am. Steven also mentioned that a few friends of theirs, who have swam with them in past races, will be swimming behind them. “Once you jump it’s a commitment to yourself that you’re going to see through it,” he stated, explaining that no two swims are ever the same. For the full story, you can check it out here.
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