29 October 2006

Touch n' Go RTA 10/28/06

What a beautiful day in the bay. This Round Trip Alcatraz (RTA) swim is part of the "Nutcracker" swim series hosted by Bob Roper of the South End Rowing Club. This particular RTA was a "touch n' go" as opposed to swimming around the rock.

The conditions were perfect! My pilot (Duke Dahlin, E.C. 2003) ran onto the beach minutes before the start of the swim. We grabbed a kayak and hauled it down to the beach. Duke emerged in a clown suit and a bright pink curly wig. I knew it was going to be a great day on the bay. I always feel confidant with Duke by my side as I swim.

We started at 9:30 at the tail end of the ebb tide. Leaving aqautic park, as I breathed to the right I saw the bay bridge and to the left Duke paddling along side of me. I reminded Duke that I needed to practice finishing on rocky beaches and I wanted to touch land at Sunrisers beach instead of just touching any part of the island, which was also an option. We reached Sunriser Beach (see photo above) on Alcatraz after 40 minutes. It was named Sunriser beach by a group of early morning South Enders known as the "Sunrisers".

I cleared the water after swimming through some unexpected sea weed and breifly socialized with J.P. (E.C. 2005) and Hendrick (E.C. 2006) who were already on Sunriser Beach. I entered the water again for the swim back to San Francisco. This time I got the view of the magestic Golden Gate on my right and Duke on my left. I felt the sunshine on my back and enjoyed every minute of the trip back.

As we entered Aquatic Park, Duke let me swim in alone so he could head back out into the bay to help other swimmers make it in to the opening between the municiple pier and the breakwater that led to our club on the beach. I thanked him and headed in. I made landfall after swimming for an hour and 27 minutes and enjoyed a leisurely shower, sauna and lunch with the club. Thank you to Jon Meyer, Bob Roper, Duke Dahlin, every pilot out on the water and all the others who selflessly made this swim possible.

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