Boy, 7, completes swim from Alcatraz

Posted on May 26th, 2006 in Uncategorized by Karl

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) — A 7-year-old boy has become one of the youngest persons to swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco’s Aquatic Park.

Braxton Bilbrey is a second-grader from Glendale, Arizona, who has completed several short-scale youth triathlons.

Bilbrey was accompanied on the estimated 1.4-mile swim by his coach, two other swimmers and a Coast Guard boat. (Watch “one in 10 million” swimmer train — 1:03)

As he reached shore, Braxton was besieged by reporters. He told them he considered his accomplishment “pretty cool.”

Asked what the hardest part was, he replied: “The swimming.”

Asked if the strong current was a problem, he said: “Not really.”

And asked about being a “brave little boy,” Braxton responded: “I think I am.”

Stacey Bilbrey originally wasn’t sold on the idea of her son swimming from Alcatraz, but she accepted it once he proved he was dedicated to his goal.

“For a 7-year-old to be that motivated and stick with a goal that long is amazing,” she said.

Alcatraz, once a notorious federal prison that housed some of the nation’s infamous criminals, including Chicago mobster Al Capone, is now a tourist site that attracts about 1 million visitors a year. It also draws a fair share of swimmers who attempt the crossing as part of the annual Escape from Alcatraz triathlon.

Braxton got the idea when he saw a magazine story about a 9-year-old boy who made the swim. Johnny Wilson, a fourth grader completed the swim in 53-degree waters last October.

“He did great,” said his dad, Steve Bilbrey. “He looked so strong. He did so awesome. I’m so proud of him.”

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