Saturday, August 1, 2009

Getting psyched for Alcatraz "Sharkfest" 2009


Congratulations on your entry in the 17th annual ALCATRAZ SHARKFEST SWIM, scheduled for Saturday, August 15th, 2009. You will attempt the challenge which only one Alcatraz prisoner – John Paul Scott – successfully completed. Of course, Scott was discovered the morning after his escape on the rocks near Fort Point. He was taken to an Army hospital in the Presidio, where he was treated for shock and hypothermia before being returned to the island prison. Both the Anglin Brothers and Frank Lee Morris made it off the island, but were never seen again. Their fate remains unknown. Be prepared for the experience of a lifetime!

Okay there are no sharks right?

Only 900 people at the start?

And how cold is the water? 55-58 degrees...

I've been collecting advice over the past year from various people. Here are some tidbits.... (names have been changed to protect my informants)

"The race is not that tough. It is more about overcoming your fear."

"Have the time of your life! This is terribly exciting and a lot of fun.
It is something you will tell your grandchildren about because everybody
knows that `you can't escape from Alcatraz'. "

"There is always a cross current but your host will know the water. They will do
the test swims the day of, and the day before, your swim and they will
tell you what to shoot for."

"Here is the trick, swim to the edge of the island once you jump off the boat and then ask the kyakers which way the tide is running, If it is definitively moving in, swim directly towards aquatic park, don't arc towards it like they recommend. If the tide is slack then do the arc like they tell you."

"Don't become obsessed with your time. This could not be a
certifiable swim. I say this because there is no starting line and no
one honors the starting horn. It takes 10 minutes to get 700 swimmers
in the water (3 swimmers jumping in parallel every 5 seconds from two
doors). Swimmers hit the water, and go for it. "

"Pause a few times to take in the breathtaking view. The Golden Gate on
your right. The Oakland Bay Bridge on your left and San Francisco in
front. J had a camera stuffed into her suit and stopped
several times to take photos. Check behind occasionally to see how far
Alcatraz has moved right or left. This can give you a good feel how you
are doing in the current."

"There are tons of sharks in the S.F. Bay but no man-eating ones like the
Great Whites for example."

The plan (for now)...

wear the suit.... apply shark faux tattoo...

follow the map...


Do you have some advice for me?


Tony Austin said...

Advice: Warmup before the race with a swim in aquatic park.

The last 300 yards into the mouth of aquatic park are the hardest aim for the wall. Once inside aquatic park, the last 200 yards are easy.

Be one of the first people off the boat so you can get use to the water and calm your breathing down.

The start is difficult, if you are a strong swimmer go out hard so you are not swimming in a pod of flailing arms. If not, don't line up at the front.

See you there! :-)

IronMatron said...

My advice is to get a real shark tattoo. Haha! Xo

Swimming for ME said...

Thanks Tony -- see you out there maybe!

IronMatron - but where?? ha ha

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