Two of the Palo Alto’s Rinconada Masters swimming team, Aimee Norton and Clinton Prior, were impressive among the swimmers at the Alcatraz Swim on September 23.
The event was inspired by 3 convicts who in 1962 chipped through their cement cell walls, squeezed through a ventilation shaft to get to the roof, climbed down a drain pipe, scaled a 15-foot fence, and entered the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay. They disappeared into the night, wearing only the meager life preservers they made from stolen rain coats, and were never found or heard from again.
The swim from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park is about 1.5 miles as the crow flies, but the tides and currents favor the swimmers, so people often think of it as being 1.25 miles. To help swimmers survive the frigid waters, some wear wet suits but some swim without wetsuits, so there are two groups—“suits” and “skins”--but all have to be strong swimmers to combat the tides and currents of the San Francisco Bay. And since open water swimming isn’t the simple matter of lanes in a pool, timing the swimmers is challenging, and is done by an electronic device each of them wears.
Both Aimee and Clinton posted noticeably better times this year as compared with one year ago. The weather was part of the better times, with much warmer air, no wind, and a water temperature of about 63F. And their regular workouts at Palo Alto’s Rinconada Pool apparently made them even fitter than last year.
Among the 620 male “suits” (all ages combined), Clinton Prior came in 5th, with all the top 5 places tightly grouped within 45 seconds of each other. He is a native Australian, and an architect with Fergus Garber Young Architects in Palo Alto. His hobby is sailing.
Among the XXX female “suits” Aimee came in 7th in her age group She is an Astronomer, who as a Senior Research Scientist at Stanford University’s Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, studies the Sun’s magnetic fields. Her hobby is poetry.