Kim Hedges - Round-Trip Angel Island

Counter-clockwise loop around Angel Island from Aquatic Park

16.1 km (10.0 miles)

7 hours, 12 minutes on 8 October 2020

Observed and documented by Lisa Amorao


  • Name: Kim Hedges
  • Gender: female
  • Age on swim date: 42
  • Nationality: United States
  • Resides: San Rafael, California

Support Personnel

  • Capt. Brent McLain - pilot
  • Ken Mignosa - crew
  • Miguel Melendez - kayaker
  • Lisa Amorao - observer

Escort Vessel: Tango (Hyde Street Marina)

Swim Parameters

  • Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
  • Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
  • Equipment used: Textile swimsuit, swim cap, goggles.

Route Definition

Start @ Aquatic Park beach just west of Dolphin Club dock, exit through Aquatic Park opening, counter-clockwise around Angel Island, return to Aquatic Park beach via Opening.

  • Body of Water: San Francisco Bay
  • Route Type: island loop
  • Start & Finish Location: Aquatic Park beach, just west of Dolphin Club dock. (37.808074, -122.42165)
  • Minimum Route Distance: 16.1 km (10.0 miles) (map).


LongSwimsDB: Round-Trip Angel Island

Swim Data

  • Start: 8 October 2020, 05:14:00 (America/Los_Angeles, UTC-7).
  • Finish: 8 October 2020, 12:26:27
  • Elapsed: 7 hours, 12 minutes, 27 seconds.

Summary of Conditions

Feature Min Max
Water Temp (F) 62 63
Air Temp (F) 59 67
Wind (knots) calm 6

GPS Track

Trackpoint frequency: 10 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).

Speed Plot

Nutrition: Carbo Pro every 30 minutes. Occasional GU.

Observer Report

Download PDF


by Kim Hedges

I never felt like I had much to say about this particular RTAI, even shortly after I did it. Maybe this is normal for the third time you do a route, and particularly when it doesn’t involve great drama??

My first RTAI was a new experience, it was a gorgeous day, and I had amazing conditions. My second was very foggy and I was constantly worried about whether I could get lightning to strike twice in terms of getting another relatively quick “time,” and then there was in fact great drama along the breakwater wall at the end.

This RTAI was the only one of the three big swims I had originally scheduled for 2020 that wasn’t wiped off the map due to COVID, and the shortest of the three. I scheduled it before the pandemic had been declared. In March my masters team suspended all practices (and pool access) for a few months. I’d been swimming in the bay a lot and had just recently returned to the pool, but was worried I’d lost speed and fitness through all the lost pool time/workouts. Mainly because of that, but also because of the massive psychological toll of 2020, I felt like I wouldn’t be bringing my best to this swim and was very concerned about that. I’ve always felt like I’ve been just under the wire in terms of being “fast” enough to do this swim without it turning into a crazy ordeal at the end.

The tides on the day I’d chosen were very tantalizing though, and I managed to talk myself into keeping the date. We were also in the midst of large-scale wildfires, and I had been watching the AQI. I had planned on calling it off if the AQI were over 150. As it was, I think we were hovering in the 100-125 range. Not awesome but good enough, sort of.

This was the only one of my RTAIs where I was, frankly, so on task that I swam past Alcatraz without even seeing it at all. I’d been practicing faster feeds for a few months and was trying to adhere to those, so there was much less sightseeing than in the past. And in fact, one of the most noteworthy moments from this swim for me was when we were approaching the north side of Angel Island and I literally couldn’t believe my eyes—I couldn’t believe I’d gotten there so fast. I kept staring perplexedly at Tiburon, wondering whether that was actually Tiburon already, or whether it could be some other geographical location … that I couldn’t identify. (Fun fact: We saw a bald eagle on the north side of AI, on a tree on the island itself.) While I was relaxedly enjoying my always fun free (and fast) ride through Raccoon Strait, I joked to the crew that I could afford to do this since we were “ahead of schedule”—that is, we were at the north side of the island way earlier than I’d expected to be. Brent replied, “There’s no such thing as ahead of schedule.” Touché …

Of course, the first two-thirds or so of this swim, in my experience at least, are generally fun and games, but the last third cranks up the anxiety, especially after my experience on RTAI #2. After we were past Alcatraz and establishing the line to Aquatic Park, I told the crew that I thought we should aim for no further east than Fort Mason (as I was counting on a flood along Aquatic Park), but they insisted on the pumphouse. I felt very uneasy about this. And indeed, as I got closer I got pushed east, missed the opening, and ended up along the breakwater, further out and at more of an angle than last time. (Ken told me later that there hadn’t seemed to be much current further out in the bay, so the crew had thought this would also be the case closer to Aquatic Park.) The flashbacks to the ending of RTAI #2 and associated panic that I’d been trying to tamp down came back up. I was hovering between trying to assess just how f****d I was, and focusing on nothing but heading for the opening; fortunately, it turned out I wasn’t in quite as bad a position this time. While I did have to backtrack against the current back to the opening again, I didn’t have to backtrack as far as on #2, the water was a little less choppy, and I don’t think the current was quite as brutal.

Once I got through the opening I tried to rest on my laurels for a minute or two, but was animatedly urged by the crew to get to the beach as quickly as possible. I hadn’t asked about the elapsed time since we were on the north side of Angel Island, and still didn’t at this point. It was after I got out that I found out I’d beat my first RTAI time (and thus my previous record) by about 20 minutes—a nice and unexpected little gift in a mostly terrible year.


Click to enlarge.