Escape from Alcatraz

Federal-prison officials liked to claim that it was impossible to escape Alcatraz, and for the most part, that assertion was true. For seasoned swimmers, though, the trip has never posed a problem—in fact, it's been downright popular.

In the 1930s, in an attempt to dissuade the feds from converting Alcatraz into a prison, a handful of schoolgirls made the swim to the city. At age 60, fitness guru and native son Jack LaLanne did it (for the second time) while shackled and towing a 1,000-pound rowboat. Every year thousands take the chilly plunge during the annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and Sharkfest Swim events. Heck, a dog made the crossing in 2005 and finished well ahead of most of the (human) pack. And since 2006, seven-year-old Braxton Bilbrey remains the youngest "escapee" on record. Incidentally, those reports of shark-infested waters are true, but the sharks are almost never dangerous species.

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