A Brief History
The idea for Take The Rock Veterans Swim Challenge began on a blustery December morning in 2012 aboard the Dauntless when we were returning from a morning Locos swim in San Francisco Bay. We were cold, we were wet, and the idea of doing an Alcatraz swim for veterans came up. Could we do it? Would anyone want to try it? How would we pay for it? How would we find veterans to participate? When would be the best time? When we reached the dock and got showered and warm we headed up to Fiddler’s Green for breakfast, and more fantasizing about doing a veteran swim. Crazy ideas began to look possible.
The idea for a veteran swim took on a life and almost everyone we talked to thought it was crazy but maybe worth a try. So we ran with it. Maurice Delmer at the Concord Vet Center came up with the name, and thanks to Maurice we are now Take The Rock. Maurice also found an artist to create our signature graphic of a veteran swimming with Alcatraz in the background. We still needed financial support so we ran it by Bill Green of the Vietnam Veterans of Diablo Valley and he invited us to a board meeting. We expected a lot of questions, a lot of doubt, and finally a NO answer, but we had nothing to lose and Bill encouraged us to give it a try. There were a lot of questions and raised eyebrows but the Vietnam Vets threw their complete support behind us and offered to cover the costs of food, fees, insurance and swim caps as well as boats to get us out to Alcatraz, for two years now and they’re still aboard! Amazing guys, the Vietnam Vets. Next we looped back to the Nadadores Locos open water swim club which is a training venue for swims such as the English Channel, Catalina to Ocean Beach, Tahoe, Monterey Bay, Gibralter, Molokai Channel and others and we asked for coaches…and of course it was their idea so they stepped up to deliver the training program and the swim itself. Patti Bauernfeind, and Kim Rutherford head up a coaching staff of some of the top open water swimmers in the United States, and Kirk McKinney is our Alcatraz swim Director. Lastly, we put the word out to the ocean swim escort kayak community and again, we were met with huge support. So now we had all the pieces. We were ready to swim.
2016 will be our 4th Annual Alcatraz Swim. We are still running with an all-volunteer program, still enjoying the financial support of the Vietnam Veterans of Diablo Valley and still with the Nadadores Locos running things in the water…and still offering a fun and free swim event for vets and their families that most people can only dream about.
Take The Rock!!!