October 26, 2011

"Swim for Life" from Alcatraz

American Indians ‘Swim For Life’ From Alcatraz to San Francisco Shore

By Pete VerralIt’s about 1.2 miles from Alcatraz to the San Francisco shore, which doesn’t seem a long swim until you consider the frigid, mid-50 degree water and perilous currents of the San Francisco Bay. On October 17, Native Americans from South Dakota, Alaska, Washington and the San Francisco Bay Area completed the swim—with just six days training.

Fred Crisp, one of the organizers and a San Francisco resident said, “Today’s swim was truly the ‘Magnificent Twelve,’ with the oldest swimmer being 62 years old, and the youngest being 15 years old. Three of the 12 swimmers had only one swim before this, and all of the members had little or no experience on open water, especially cold waters such as the San Francisco Bay.”

The event concluded the ninth annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Program, a week-long event, which ran from October 9-17. PATHSTAR, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, inspires active lifestyle and healthy nutrition practices in communities throughout Indian Country.

One goal of PATHSTAR is to counteract the diabetes epidemic affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives at disproportionate rates. When compared with the population as a whole, American Indians are three times more likely to die from diabetes-related complications, according to federal Indian Health Service statistics.
 Obesity is a leading risk factor of diabetes, and Native youth are twice as likely to be overweight than are young people in the general population.
Comment:  For more on Indians against diabetes, see Nike N7 Sport Summit and It's Up 2 You Available.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For news on the 2012 swim, see:


Native Americans Swim From Alcatraz to San Francisco To Inspire Healthy Change

After six days of training, on October 8, a dozen Native Americans made the 1.2-mile swim from Alcatraz to the San Francisco shore—a challenging feat in the chilly, 50- to 60-degree water and rough Bay currents. Tribal representatives from Alaska, Washington and California participated in this year’s program.

Each Native swimmer was paired with a veteran South End Rowing Club (SERC) swimmer for the journey.

The 10th Annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Week, September 30 to October 8, gave participants the confidence to make physical fitness a priority and empowered them to develop good eating habits. The week-long event is a component of the San Francisco-based nonprofit PATHSTAR’s year-round efforts to inspire healthy nutrition and active lifestyles practices in tribal communities. A primary goal of PATHSTAR is to counteract obesity—a major risk factor for diabetes—which is affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives at disproportionate rates.