The Boston Globe | Triathlon just one way to escape from Alcatraz

     January 23, 2016

    For me, the best preparation came from taking a swim clinic the day before the race with coach Pedro Ordenes, founder of Water World Swim in San Francisco. Ordenes holds the world record for Alcatraz swim crossings — more than 900 — and is the only person to complete a roundtrip crossing of the Beagle Channel between Chile and Argentina. He now teaches swimmers how to embrace open-water swimming in the Bay Area and beyond, and runs three Alcatraz swim clinics in the days preceding the triathlon.

    At 6:15 a.m. the day before the race, Ordenes took 40 of us out to Alcatraz by motorboat, offered important tips, and then gave us the option to do the entire crossing or just part of it, so we could get a feel for the water and currents. We ended up swimming the whole route, an experience that helped eliminate a lot of the fear.

    That’s why I felt relatively calm the next day when Gilsenan’s voice boomed over the loadspeaker, “Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Good luck racers, and remember to have fun!”

    Continued on