Joseph Oakes

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Lessons From Alcatraz
Over the past three decades Joseph Oakes, a Fellow of the British Royal Geographical Society and a member of the South End Rowing Club, has guided more than 30,000 swimmers from Alcatraz Island to the shores of San Francisco City at Aquatic Park. Oakes has finished open water swims around the world, including a swim from Russia to Alaska (the opposite direction of Lynne Cox's 1987 swim in the Bering Strait), 130 marathon runs, 51 ultra-distance runs and 6 Hawaiian Ironman triathlons.

Lessons From Alcatraz

Oakes and Gary Emich co-wrote a new book Open Water Swimming - Lessons from Alcatraz.

They co-wrote the book for those who are encouraged "to enjoy the wonderful feeling of success that comes from completion of the great, difficult and classic swimming challenge" of swimming from Alcatraz Island to the shoreline of San Francisco.

"Alcatraz swims have been our obsession for many years," writes the co-authors. "Read on and devour what we have prepared for you." We read on and, in fact, very much enjoyed the insights and background to Alcatraz swims from the perspective of swimmers, escorts and race directors. We have seen too many unqualified swimmers trying unsuccessfully to swim from Alcatraz. In that time our Alcatraz Safety Crew has had to rescue well over 1,000 swimmers, many of whom should never have been out there foolishly endangering themselves and those around them. Bravado has its place, but not at Alcatraz."

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