SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., USA, July 26. TODAY, WiggleWireless, an interactive mobile marketing company that connects people to informational updates via opt-in text messages, announced that on July 30, Jake, a four-year-old golden retriever, will be the first dog to swim in the Annual South End Rowing Club’s Alcatraz Invitational Swim.
A well-trained athlete, Jake will swim the stretch from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco Bay alongside his owner, WiggleWireless President Jeff Pokonosky. Fans can track Jake’s progress on their mobile phones for free during the swim through live text message updates, provided by WiggleWireless. For every fan that signs up, WiggleWireless will donate $1 to the San Francisco charity Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Additionally, waiting at the finish to congratulate Jake will be world-class extreme ocean swimmer Lynne Cox, who personally consulted Jake on his pre-race training. As a teenager, Lynne broke both the men’s and women’s records for swimming the English Channel, and she was the first person to swim the five miles between Alaska and the Soviet Union, among her many other accomplishments. She also recently authored the New York Times best-selling book “Swimming to Antarctica.”
“Whether you're human or dog it takes a lot of physical and mental preparation to race in this Alcatraz event, and it's really important that both prepare for the swim,” said Cox. “I'm especially happy to see all the safety precautions that have been taken for Jake and for the other swimmers. It's a great event."
Jake, who stands 2’1” tall with 65 pounds of sheer muscle, has a training schedule of two, two-mile ocean swims per week and an hour of leg training and ball work five days a week. To show his great mental preparation and discipline in the face of temptation, Jake can even balance a cheeseburger on his nose. His favorite diet includes dry dog food, energy-rich rice and cottage cheese every other day, broccoli on Wednesday and a special treat of scrambled eggs on Sunday. Though a number of coaches have encouraged a side-to-side hip rotation and alternate breathing stroke techniques, Jake insists on using his tried-and-true dog paddle.
“Jake is more than ready to conquer the challenge,” said Pokonosky. “It’s been important in my life to train with Jake. He is truly committed to our swims and is one of the best training partners I’ve ever had. He never calls to say he can’t make it and truly inspires me to push my limits.”
He added, “Every time we hit the beach for training, Jake leaps out in the water and swims 75 yards in front of me. He clearly enjoys the experience. Also, we’re grateful for this opportunity to support Guide Dogs for the Blind, a group dedicated to strict training, discipline and devotion in order to make a difference in people’s lives.”
President and CEO of Guide Dogs for the Blind, Bob Phillips, also expressed his enthusiasm for the event: “We are honored to be selected as Jake’s charity of choice and are certainly excited about the support and awareness his swim is bringing to our organization.”
Being a dog does have its perks, though Jake will be swimming just as far as the other athletes. According to Bill Wygant, president of the South End Rowing Club, “We decided to waive the entry fee for Jake, particularly since he’s racing for such a good cause, though his offer to pay in tennis balls was more than generous. It has been a goal since the South End Rowing Club was established over a hundred years ago to support our members’ unique swimming goals, be it human or animal.”
Anyone can track Jake’s progress from the Rock to San Francisco Bay by signing up for free up-to-the-minute text message updates on their mobile phone. To sign up, supporters can visit www.wigglewireless.com. A training video of Jake is also available on the Web site. Start time for the race is scheduled for approximately 9:15 a.m.