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Trial by Water

Could this 57-year-old meet his ultimate challenge: swimming the frigid waters from Alcatraz to the San Francisco shore?

Two years before my father died, he and I swam together. He was 79, and though weakened by age, and recovering from a stroke, Dad churned through the water, slow but steady, like a steamboat on the Mississippi. He was always an expert swimmer and graceful diver, and he had insisted that all seven of his children learn to swim at an early age. I competed—happily, despite mediocre results— until I was 12 or so, but my most pleasurable aquatic experiences took place well beyond the confines of pools. I’ve never been able to resist the allure of open water, plunging gleefully, sometimes recklessly, into rivers, lakes, and seas everywhere I’ve traveled. … Back to Article

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