Shark infested water fails to deter Bishop Aucklands pals from Alcatraz swim (From The Northern Echo)
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Shark infested water fails to deter Bishop Aucklands pals from Alcatraz swim
TWO adventurous friends will brave the shark infested waters of San Francisco to tackle their biggest open water swim challenge yet.
Swimming mad Julie York and Susan Brown will line up alongside 400 other competitors to tackle the 11th annual Alcatraz Classic this Saturday (September 28).
The competition will see swimmers taken on a ferry near to the infamous Alcatraz Island - within 1.5miles of the San Francisco shore - before jumping in the water and racing to dry land.
As well as battling each other, the water - swept by strong currents - is said to be infested with sharks.
“All people say when I tell them about the swim is what about the sharks,” said Mrs York, who has been a swimming teacher for 32 years. “I am trying not to think about them. This is such an iconic event.
The pair became friends a few years ago thanks to their love of swimming. Since then they have taken part in numerous competitions, including the Great North Swim at Lake Windermere and an event in Loch Ness.
“I loved swimming as soon as I got in the lake for the first time so it just went from there,” said Mrs York, 49, of Bridge Place, near Bishop Auckland.
Miss Brown, 43, of Bracks Farm, Bishop Auckland, added: “I hadn’t been swimming since I was 11 but I had always vowed to get back into it. I did my first open water swim when I was 40 and it just went from there.”
Together with Miss Brown’s partner David Packman, the friends also plan to tackle the Tiburon open water swim the following day.
About 800 swimmers will be taking part and while they won’t be challenging for $10,000 prize with the likes of Olympian Keri-Ann Payne in the line-up they know it will be a major achievement to complete both events.
They train all year round, although open water practice only takes place between April and September. Mrs York teaches the event and together with Miss Brown they are already working hard on a team to take part in next year’s Great North Swim.
In addition, they are looking for a new challenge once this weekend is over – with thoughts of swimming around the Statue of Liberty, in New York, or doing a relay across the English Channel.
Anyone interested in trying open water swimming can call Julie York, who runs Splash Outdoors, on 07855148128.
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