100th Escape from Alcratraz: One for the Guiness Book of World Records

SAN FRANCISCO, May 23. ON Monday, June 11, 2001, 53-year old Pedro Ordenes and 50-year old Gary Emich will attempt what many erroneously still consider to be an absolute impossibility: they undertake not their first, not their tenth, not even their 50th but rather their 100th Alcatraz swim in nothing more than swimsuit, cap & goggles.

If successful, they will become the first ever to achieve triple digit Alcatraz "escapes" and shatter the previous Guinness World Book record of 70 swims.

This incredible feat commemorates the 39th anniversary of the only known successful escape ever to have occurred from the infamous prison island. On the evening of June 11, 1962, Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers, Clarence and John, chipped through their cell walls, squeezed through a ventilation shaft to the roof, climbed down a drain pipe, scaled a 15-foot fence, entered the water wearing meager life preservers made from stolen rain coats and disappeared into the darkness forever, thereby attaining overnight and long-lasting notoriety.

Isolated a mile and a half from San Francisco in frigid 50-degree, shark-infested waters, escape is made even more daunting by the treacherous and choppy currents that race in and out of the Golden Gate at speeds that sometimes exceed 8 miles per hour, more than twice as fast as the quickest person can swim. To this day, controversy rages over whether the trio made it or whether they drowned. What really happened is anyone's guess; authorities never found any bodies.

Ordenes of Corte Madera, California, and race-director of the popular Alcatraz Invitational Swim, is an accomplished open-water swimmer who welcomed the new millenium by swimming across South America's 39-degree open water cauldron that has sent many a ship to its watery grave: the 4-mile wide Strait of Magellan.

Emich of Pacifica, California, and current race-director of the 21-year old Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon and Swim, also has accomplished myriad unusual open-water feats including swims across the piranha-infested Amazon River and across Scotland's legendary Loch Ness.

Both men completed their first Alcatraz escape on May 15, 1993 and have racked up an average of more than one swim a month in the intervening eight years although their record was an amazing eight crossings in one 11-day period during March 2001!

Ordones and Emich will start their swim at 7:30 a.m. from the rocky cliff base on the south side of Alcatraz and, if successful, reach land 45-50 minutes later at the Presidio's Crissy Field Beach.

For further information or to make reservations to be a spectator on the escort vessel, California Spirit (docked east of Pier 39 at Pacific Marine Yachts and available for a 7:00 a.m. boarding with a 7:15 a.m. departure,), contact Pedro Ordenes at 415.806.1321 / pordenes@pacbell.net.
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