Juneathon day sixteen: Alcatraz

Today was another watery day. One of the local pools opens at 7.30 and somehow I managed to be in the water by 7.45. I had been expecting it to be pretty quiet, but it turns out that at that time of the morning it’s full of of a more mature demographic (to quote my manager on our Christmas do “It’s like Cocoon in there…”).

I ploughed up and down doing my usual 24 lengths (but in a 2 x 10 +4 format, instead of my usual 6 x 4), taking a break after the first ten. As I lounged and did some strange underwater stretching things that I always do in the shallow end (despite them having no purpose at all), one of the more mature ladies hopped out of the water with a grace and agility that I can only dream of (when it was time for me to leave, I heaved myself onto the side and then had to roll over into a standing position). As she dangled her feet in the water, she told me that, until last week, she hadn’t swum for thirty-odd years.

Apparently she does a lot of walking, but fancied something different. Her first love is golf, but apparently when you get to her age, all the ladies are “all crocked with new hips and new knees and spondylosis…”. We had a bit of a natter and she finished off my telling me that they didn’t bother with swimming lessons when she was young (“…about a thousand years ago, before the war…”) you were just chucked in the water and got on with it.

Even though swimming is just a question of getting chucked in the water and getting on with it, these days it doesn’t count unless you have an app for it. My app of choice is Splashpath (which also has a desktop version). Basically, it’s a database of swimming pools, some of which have the pool timetables available (all of mine do, which is really handy) and you can record your swims dead easily.

It also has challenges… You can record your swims to show how far you are along various waterways and the like. At the moment I have completed 55% of my swim from Alcatraz.


Apparently I’m aiming at the Golden Gate Bridge, which seems a slightly daft escape route as this clearly isn’t the nearest point on the shore.


Given that there no one is known to have escaped Alcatraz and survived (and that it has taken me over a month to get this far) I don’t hold out much hope for this being an effective plan for the future.