Alcatraz Swim Clinics


Boost your open water swim skills in clinics offered by us - the San Francisco Bay open water swim experts and Ironman® champion coaches!

JUNE 3, 2022

JUNE 3, 2022 @ 6:00AM

A clinic to help swimmers from island to shore. Limited space - signup early to reserve your spot!

Fun. Extremely informative. A huge confidence booster. Great coaches and boat captain, and kayakers. Did I mention how much fun it was?
Very organized and experienced. Demystifies the swim. Excellent tips. Good camaraderie -- all those Escape triathletes were stoked, many repeat customers of WWS, and truly seemed appreciative about the edge it gives them.
This is my 2nd year doing this and the crew helped me to improve my sighting, swim technique (specifically breathing in the cold water) and outlook on getting across the Bay with comfort and style!


Check out our conveniently timed Alcatraz swim clinics to help boost your open water swim. Literally 100% of surveyed triathletes who did a clinic with us would recommend them (no joke)! Pick from offshore clinics, to hop-in-hop-out Alcatraz clinics, to full test swims. You'll be fully briefed on what to expect, best strategies, and tips for race day success.


We have a series of Alcatraz swim clinics scheduled year round. Do not miss the opportunity to learn about the crossing before your event!

Many swimmers who have trained with us during our clinics have reported better times in their competitions and feeling strong and confident during their race. Our Crissy Field/St. Francis clinics include a mile of open water swimming and instruction and advice from coaches. During our bay/Alcatraz clinics, swimmers are transported to Alcatraz by boat and try the water in 2-3 notable places for 10-15 minutes at a time under the guidance of our coaches.

This is very valuable experience so that on race day you don't encounter an unwelcome surprise - you are ready! Upon request, our WWS coaches will critique your stroke and provide you with suggestions to make your stroke more efficient and faster. This is a wonderful experience with a great group of people in a non-competitive environment.


If you're attending a Crissy Field or St. Francis clinic, you'll be doing a 1-mile practice swim along the shoreline with coaches and safety (both are always present at our swims) to guide you and talk about swimming Alcatraz. You'll start at the East Beach and swim west to the St. Francis Yacht Club (Crissy Field clinic) or from the Wave Organ to the St. Francis Yacht Club (St. Francis clinic)

This length is much like the last swim leg of many big bay events, and you'll experience some of the currents and water you'll find out at Alcatraz.


During a bay/Alcatraz clinic, swimmers are transported to Alcatraz by boat. Once we arrive at Alcatraz, participants swim near the island to experience sighting and the currents of the bay. After the swimmers return to the boat, they are taken to the potato patch to experience the rough water in front of Alcatraz, as well as some other notable locations.

The last jump is near the race finish line and swimmers practice sighting, and “feel” the water near the cove opening to Aquatic Park, St. Francis, or Crissy Field. You will learn about currents expected during your race and strategy.


Starting triathlon for the first time? Seasoned triathlete? Adding Alcatraz to your list of bucket list swims, or want to improve your Alcatraz PR? Whether you are new to the sport of triathlon, have a few races under your belt, or several seasons, Water World Swim Triathlon Clinics can help you achieve the next level in your endurance training.

Hone your transition skills. Fine-tune your open water swimming, sighting, stroke technique. Adjust your bike posture, improve your cadence, discuss bike fit, and gear. Learn how to save your legs for the run. Achieve more running technique. Gain the advantage and spend your day with the experienced triathlon coaches at Water World Swim and cross the finish line well-prepared. We'll have a Q&A with our coaches after a nutritious lunch to round out the morning!

Make Water World Swim a part of your triathlon training plan. Water World Swim has over 20 years of experience training swimmers of all levels, elite triathletes and age groupers swim from Alcatraz to the Finish Line efficiently, effectively and safely. Water World Swim’s Triathlon Coaches have extensive experience (and podium finishes) at Escape from Alcatraz™ Triathlon, Ironman® World Championship, Ironman® 70.3, Ultraman, Death Ride, and Boston Marathon to name a few events.


  • Start from Alcatraz as you would in an actual Alcatraz multi-sport event, and swim to the shore at St. Francis Beach where several Alcatraz multi-sport events finish
  • Learn about the currents in San Francisco Bay and landmarks you need need to “sight” in order to have a successful swim
  • Swim critique by professional swim coaches
  • Bike and run course previews of one of the major Alcatraz triathlons
  • Nutrition and hydration plans
  • Expert Wetsuit fitting
  • Common mistakes and how to avoid them
  • Race day strategies
  • Step by step guidance from professional coaches and experienced athletes

And more!


Bring the equipment you would use race day - your race day wetsuit, tuned bicycle, approved helmet, and well-fitting running shoes. This is a learning experience, but bring capable tools. Be prepared to cover the distances. This is not a clinic that readies you in one session - this is to tailor your training in the right direction. You should at least be training for general fitness.

While these clinics only require you to bring safe and working equipment, please note that tri-legal helmets must be ANSI or Snell approved. Many triathlons recommend a tri or road bike, but check your event if applicable regarding mountain bikes. Here is the USAT codes on bikes:

(i) Handlebars and stem must be fashioned to prevent any danger. All handlebar ends must be solidly plugged to lessen the possibility of injury. 

(j) There must be one working brake on each of the two wheels.

(k) There must be a free-wheeling mechanism between the crank and the rear wheel that allows the bicycle to roll forward while the pedals remain stationary.

(l) All aspects of the bicycle must be safe to the user and to other participants in the event. Minimum safety standards include, but are not limited to, properly glued and sealed tires, tight headset and handlebars, and true wheels.



Kathy Winkler is a teacher and mother to two daughters, but when she’s not kicking butt with the kids – she’s kicking butt in triathlons! Kathy is a six-time podium placer in the Kona, HI IRONMAN World Championship, set three new course records in three days at the ULTRAMAN World Championships where she placed 1st in her age group and 2nd overall, and also has the following to her name:

  • 3 podium finishes at IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
  • 10 time 1st in age group, and five times in a row at Wildflower Olympics
  • 10 time 1st in age group and overall once in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Kathy says, “Set your mind to something and the possibilities are endless. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are not capable, find out for yourself what you are made of, the results may surprise you. Embrace each day, see what the day gives you and make the most of it."