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Friday, September 2, 2016
Gentlemen's Agreement Across Alcatraz
Back in 1993, Gary Emich did his first Alcatraz Island swim and then started doing the same crossing an average of one Alcatraz Island swim a week for 20 years.
During the decades, Emich has had to face conditions that ranged from tranquil to treacherous.
But his relentless march to his 1,000th crossing was highlighted by a rivalry with Steven Hurwitz, a local swimmer and a like-minded colleague at the South End Rowing Club.
The men went back and forth, tormenting one another while vying to see who could have the greatest number of Alcatraz crossings.
When one man went on vacation or had other responsibilities to care for, the other took off to The Rock and swam back. But cooler minds prevailed and selfless egos came to the fore as Emich and Hurwitz entered into a gentlemen's agreement to jointly accomplish their 1,000th crossing.
"We are both founding members of the Alcatraz Swimming Society (ASS)," explains Emich. "When I reached 1,000, I went into semi-retirement and became ASS Emeritus while Steven continues to rack them up and is now upwards of over 1,150 swims."
Both their joint 500th and 1,000th crossings coincides with the anniversary of the famed escape from The Rock by Frank Morris and John, Clarence, and Alfred Anglin [see documentary below].
"The 1000th crossing for the swimmers [was] a symbolic victory for all those who yearn for freedom – those who have tried to accomplish what doubters said couldn’t be done and those who literally tried to escape the Rock against all odds,” said Hurwitz, a father of two and President of Bay Area Herbs & Specialties, a premier supplier of fresh culinary herbs and specialty produce.
"From the days of Gertrude Ederle when the Olympian and other top women of her generation were trying to become the first to accomplish a feat in the open water, channel swimmers and marathon swimmers are usually competitively vying with one another to become first in some particular body of water," said Steven Munatones. "Many swimmers do not want to publicly announce their plans ahead of time because they fear another swimmer will try and complete a first-time swim before them. But Gary and Steven are true gentlemen and true watermen who put aside their competitive urges and egos to jointly achieve a first. It was an honorable gesture and remarkable achievement."
Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
The Other Shore
The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.
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The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.