Australian Man Falls 15 Seconds Short of Beating Swim Record from SF to Alcatraz

An Australian man fell 15 seconds short of breaking the record currently held by a Tiburon resident of swimming back and forth from San Francisco to Alcatraz today.

Trent Grimsey swam from Aquatic Park to Alcatraz Island and back in one hour, five minutes and 30 seconds this morning.

Tiburon resident Bob Placek has held the record of swimming the same distance in one hour, five minutes and 15 seconds for the past 25 years.

While Grimsey would’ve rather missed the record by five minutes than 15 seconds, he said the swim was “good fun” and was not disappointed with himself.

“It was a world-class effort by a world-class swimmer,” South End Rowing Club President Bill Wygant said.

Grimsey, 26, is a native of Brisbane, Australia. In 2012, he broke the world record of swimming across the English Channel, a distance that stretches about 21 miles, in six hours and 55 minutes.

Wearing a swimming cap and trunks, Grimsey started the 2.7-mile roundtrip swim from San Francisco to Alcatraz Island around 8:30 a.m.

Grimsey noted the waters were warmer than he expected and faced difficulty swimming back toward Aquatic Park.

Wygant was following Grimsey on a boat during the swim and said it took about 30 minutes for the world-class swimmer to reach the east end of the island, which was not a faster time than expected.

Once Grimsey reached the west end of the island he accelerated back toward San Francisco despite flood currents working against him, Wygant said.

Even though the water conditions weren’t optimum for Grimsey, Wygant appreciated him for completing the swim, despite not surpassing Placek’s record.

“Whether successful or unsuccessful we’re all a little more capable than what we thought we were,” Wygant said.

Grimsey’s accolades include being a three-time Australia Open Water Champion, three-time King of the Sea Champion, FINA Grand Prix Open Water Champion and World Open Water Championship silver medalist.

Jamey Padojino, Bay City News

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