Swim Death at Alcatraz

A man was pulled from the water, according to a source spectating the event. A San Francisco Fire Department rescue team worked on the competitor during transport to the shore, and while on shore. He was not revived.

Triathlete and lifelong swimmer Jim Street, a veteran fire fighter and a member of Team Firefighter, was at the scene. “The San Francisco Fire Department pulled a swimmer out of the water and were working him on the way in. They worked him on the dock. They worked really hard. Then the RC [Rescue Captain] brought the wife over. That was really hard to watch from this side of a call. His wife crumpled the the sidewalk crying, ‘He said he could do it’. They were unable to revive him, they did everything they could.”

The local ABC San Francisco news affiliate reported that the deceased was a 46-year-old man from Austin, Texas.

The arduous swim leg consists of a 1.5 mile stretch beginning with a deep water start near Alcatraz Island, ending at Marina Green Beach. Swimmers exit a ferry directly into deep water, 55 degrees on average, where wetsuits and hoods are recommended by race management.

Cardiologist Lawrence Creswell, MD, who chaired USA Triathlon's panel on deaths in triathlon last year, participated today in Alcatraz, and remarked, "This is my 4th time to do the race and the swim conditions were the roughest I've seen yet here. When I got back from the bike, there were still people just finishing the swim. My family said it took some swimmers 2 hours."

"I'm really shaken up from the swim," said veteran triathlete Derek Dalzell. "I've swam choppy water, I've swam Ironman distance, I grew up in Michigan and swam in March. I get it, it's tough, But today was dangerous. I told my family I loved them right after the swim. It was a very real and scary thing."

The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon has been ongoing since 1981. More than 50,000 contestants have taken part in the race since its inception. This is believed the first death in the event’s history, although a male competitor at a similar event called Escape from the Rock Triathlon died during the swim in 2008, and a woman died in 2007 another event called the Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon.