11 Tips for First-Time Alcatraz Swimmers

Alcatraz Odyssey Open Water Swimming San Francisco.jpg

Are you getting ready for your first Alcatraz swim? Or maybe you’re not quite ready to register for an Odyssey Alcatraz swim but you’re interested in testing the waters. In either case, we decided to ask our experienced Alcatraz swimmers what tips they would share with you.

This year, we will have three public Alcatraz swims (4/27, 7/6, 9/21) that are now open for registration. Dozens of swimmers will join us for each to swim just over two miles, beginning just outside of Alcatraz Island and ending at the shore back in San Francisco. It’s a unique and unforgettable experience.

Here are 11 tips for those conquering Alcatraz for the first time from experienced Odyssey swimmers.

Alcatraz Tips for First Timers

  • “Pack plenty of warm clothes and a nice big towel for after the swim :).” -- Sunil Shah

  • “Take a boat cruise around the Bay so you can see the course you’ll be swimming and (hopefully) get out your nervous energy.” -- Angela Stockard

  • “Swim a lot and often in the open water. Don’t rely solely on pool swimming because it’s a controlled environment.” -- Angela Stockard

  • “Be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The waters around Alcatraz and this section of the bay can be a little rough and unpredictable.” -- Angela Stockard

  • “Enjoy every moment!! You only get one chance at a first time/opportunity. Take in everything and view it as what you’ll add to the narrative of your Alcatraz story.” -- Angela Stockard

  • “If you don’t complete the crossing, know that there are many more opportunities to try again.” -- Angela Stockard

  • “When it’s all done, relish in the fact that you swam from Alcatraz and survived!!! You have bragging rights and will look at the bay in a new way!” -- Angela Stockard

  • “Motion sickness is real be it on the boat or in the water. Be prepared for that by using whatever method of anti-nausea treatments that works best for you. Dramamine  and ginger candies are my choices.” -- Angela Stockard

  • “Make sure to be able to breathe to either side, and practice each side your next swim. Depending on currents and wind, your normal preferred side might have you swallowing a bucket of water! Be prepared to be flexible!” -- Megan Tobin

  • “Keep an eye on our kayakers as you cross and watch and listen for instructions. They’re able to see currents and get information from the team and pass it on to you to make sure you have the safest and fastest crossing!” -- Megan Tobin

  • “Start off easy and breathe. Long strokes. And don’t forget to enjoy the scenery a bit! What a view!” -- Megan Tobin

Are you ready to join us for the adventure of a lifetime? Learn more and register here!

Warren Wallace