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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Three San Francisco Kids to Swim from Alcatraz

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 at 8:45 AM

click to enlarge Pretty .... cold today! - JAY GALVIN VIA FLICKR

Three girls -- the oldest of which is barely a teenager -- are adding an impressive boost to their resumes this morning: They're jumping into the frigid November waters to swim roughly 1.25 miles from Alcatraz to the San Francisco shore -- a feat most adults wouldn't do.

Kenya Lam, 12, Malia Martin, 13, and Isabella Des Roches, 11, have been training with a swim coach since September to embark on the open-water swim, according to Kenya's mother Linda Lam.

The three girls were ferried out to Alcatraz and dropped off early this morning; If all goes as planned, they should be swimming back now, with their parents following along on a rented boat -- to take pictures, of course.

Lam lives in Chinatown but swims at the Martin Luther King, Jr. pool in Bayview with Martin and Des Roches, both of whom live near Visitacion Valley. The girls wanted to do the swim with an organized group, but the clubs that plan Alcatraz swims don't allow minors, Lam's mother told us.

click to enlarge Success! Des Roches, Martin, and Lam pose after completing the swim Tuesday morning. - COURTESY OF ELAINE MARTIN
  • Courtesy of Elaine Martin
  • Success! Des Roches, Martin, and Lam pose after completing the swim Tuesday morning.

"They didn't mind the frigid waters, which totally blows my mind," Linda Lam said. But it's high time to get the swim done before the winter gets colder and before the girls move on to other goals, she said.

The girls have been training for distance in an indoor pool as well as doing open-water swimming practice in the San Francisco Bay every weekend.

And because the tides are best on Tuesday, the girls will be skipping part of the school day to do the swim.

But once the girls make it to shore, "they'll go get some breakfast, and then they're going right back to school," Lam said.

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Ellen Huet

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