[probably a little less than 1.4miles, 19mins36seconds]
We got a lot of help from the flood tide. Went straight out towards Alcatraz from Coghlan beach to avoid the back-eddy from the flood hitting the beach and curling out and back around towards the bridge outside the yacht harbor. I knew I was far enough out when Diesel started shouting at me that I was too far out. Darren and John were behind me, and not catching up, which made me happy.
After I got somewhat used to the choppy swell, I rationalized that this was good Channel training, so it didn't make me too unhappy. Wasn't pretty - technique gave way to brute force, but felt strong enough for the relatively short swim. Tried to slap the too-far-out buoy, but the flood was pushing to hard, I just patted the seaweed trailing from it. Diesel blew the hooter anyway. Cut in pretty hard to shave the corner from Fort Mason to the opening of Aquatic Park. Didn't see anyone in front of me on the inside line, so that made me happy too. Didn't hit either pier, and didn't cramp up standing up in the shallows, which is a first. My new - lie on your back, hit the stop button, roll over slowly, wait for a wave to lift you to your knees, and then slowly stand up technique - seems to be the trick. Quick half-way back along the flags to "cool down" in the 50degree water, and then helped pull the boats out before a long shower and sauna.
The boys were a little boisterous in the sauna so Sharko cooled them off with a little cold water from the hose. Met another South End character. It was Rudi's birthday, and he was warming up his 83-year old joints by standing in the sauna in his handball gear. We sang him happy birthday, and when pressed, he regaled us with modest tales of his handball national championships in his 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. He is giving his artificial hip time to settle in before going for a national championship in his 80s. He explained that he couldn't trust himself in competition to stay within the limits that the articial limb could handle.
Diesel did his usual entertaining job as MC over breakfast, thanking all the volunteers, pilots, cooks and organizers, and hanging signs round everyone's necks ("Feed me - I'm a rocket" :) ). Bob Roper paid tribute to Frank Coghlan (may he rest in peace) who gave his name to the beach we swam from today, by missing aquatic park on a swim back from Alcatraz, and ending up on the beach next to the St Francis Yacht Club. Frank was quite a swimmer and character, being one of the first to swim across Lake Tahoe, and swimming the Verrazano Narrows in New York and the Golden Gate Bridge on the same day. Bob was perhaps embellishing when he described "Double Dip" Frank sitting on the flight in his speedos, but I wouldn't bet money on it.
Here's to the open water swimming pioneers who were just stupid enough to set marks that the rest of us can enjoy trying to meet. As any swimmer knows, it's easy drafting behind someone else's feat.
Frank Coghlan obituary https://www.legacy.com/SFGate/DeathNotices.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonId=85909121