Amazing 10-year-old swims from Alcatraz to San Francisco

Kealey Scott, 10, braved the cool waters off San Francisco to swim in the Alcatraz XXXII Escape From the Rock event. - Don Bodger
Kealey Scott, 10, braved the cool waters off San Francisco to swim in the Alcatraz XXXII Escape From the Rock event.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Kealey Scott has been telling quite a tale to classmates since returning to school about something she did during the summer.

To many, it may seem like a tall tale. But the 10-year-old Bench Elementary School Grade 5 student did, in fact, swim in the Alcatraz XXXII Escape from the Rock in San Francisco.

She weighs only 63 pounds soaking wet, stands four-foot-four and was the only girl under 16 brave enough to do it.

Scott was the youngest swimmer by a long shot in the 1.5-mile swim Aug. 25, completing it in 26 seconds less than the one-hour mark.

She started in swim lessons at an early age. Stamina comes from her nine months of the year training with the Duncan Stingrays and five seasons of summer swimming with the Cowichan Valley Breakers.

Her swim was boat-assisted, meaning she was moved if necessary due to strong currents or going off course and back into the pack.

Asked what the experience was like, Scott had a prompt one-word answer. "Cold,'' she said.

There were various reports about the water temperature, but dad Jim had it pegged at about 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

"I had a hot shower when I got back to the hotel room,'' said Kealey.

She wasn't worried about anything during the swim — sharks even frequent those waters — but would she do it again? "No,'' said Kealey.

She did the breaststroke most of the way and switched over to freestyle strokes near the end. Scott didn't do much freestyle because she wanted to avoid taking in too much salt water.

"The side I turn my head to is where the waves were coming,'' she explained.

Jim was impressed with the organizers of the event.

"They looked after her pretty well right from the minute she got on the boat,'' he said.

"One of the guys in his kayak gave me some water and pulled me a little bit,'' Kealey said.

The family revolved a vacation around the event. Kealey was more impressed she could purchase giant candy than by her own swimming feat.


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