Kim Rutherford - Round-Trip Angel Island
Clockwise loop around Angel Island from Aquatic Park
16.1 km (10.0 miles)
10 hours, 35 minutes on 26 June 2023
Observed and documented by Scott Tapley
- Name: Kim Rutherford
- Gender: female
- Age on swim date: 63
- Nationality: United States
- Resides: Capitola, California
- Tom Linthicum - boat pilot
- Robin Rose - crew / feeder
Scott Tapley - Attendee (multiple times) at CCSF/SBCSA Observer Trainings; Observer Training Instructor; CPR/AED/First Aid certified; Lifesaving Classes, Swim Piloting Experience; Crew for swims of the Monterey Bay, Lake Tahoe, Catalina Channel, Santa Barbara Channel, Farallon Islands, and English Channel; Completed Solo swims of the Catalina, Santa Barbara, and English Channels; completed relay swims = Two-way Monterey Bay and Catalina Circumnavigation; Founding Member of MBSA.
Escort Vessel: Ghost Rider
- Category: Solo, nonstop, unassisted.
- Rules: MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, without exception or modification.
- Equipment used: Textile swimsuit (Water Pro Storm one piece. 82% Nylon, 18% Lycra), Single Latex Cap, Goggles (ZionOR) (no ear plugs), light Vaseline, Guardian Swim Lights (Green and Amber)
Start @ Aquatic Park (beach between Dolphin Club and SERC), exit through Aquatic Park opening, clockwise around Angel Island, return to Aquatic Park beach via opening.
- Body of Water: San Francisco Bay
- Route Type: island loop
- Start & Finish Location: Beach between SERC & Dolphin Club docks, Aquatic Park, San Francisco (37.808145, -122.421402)
- Minimum Route Distance: 16.1 km (10.0 miles) (map)
LongSwimsDB: Round-Trip Angel Island swims
- Start: 26 June 2023, 01:23:26 (Pacific Daylight, America/Los_Angeles (UTC-7)).
- Finish: 26 June 2023, 11:59:15
- Elapsed: 10 hours, 35 minutes, 15 seconds.
Summary of Conditions
|Water Temp (F)||57||61|
|Air Temp (F)||52||56|
Trackpoint frequency: 5 minutes. Download raw data (CSV).
by Scott Tapley
Kim, Robin, and I came up to San Francisco on Sunday night and tried to rest a few hours at Robin’s place in Fontana Towers. We rested but didn’t sleep. Just before midnight, we heated some water, grabbed our gear and Kim’s swimmer food, and headed to SERC where we were met by John G. John agreed to stay and support the 1:30 AM swim start and get some photos.
Robin and I met Reptile at the Hyde Street Pier to load the boat, Ghost Rider. We launched and were at the opening to Aquatic Park by 1:15.
The swim got off to a smooth start at 1:23, but as soon as we left the protection of the Cove, the wind was already up—10 knots, WSW. We had great visibility and could see from the Golden Gate to Bay Bridge to Sausalito and the lights at Ghirardelli Square were lit up in rainbow colors for Pride month. Kim’s feeding plan was to alternate between red Gatorade and plain water, with the occasional cookie or chia squeeze on request. + Advil every ~4 hours.
On the first section out to Angel Island, the winds increased, and although it was dark, I could tell it was difficult to keep the boat on a good line and Kim was finding a rhythm with the chop. We passed little Alcatraz, carefully, shortly after 2:15. The wind got stronger and shifted to mostly Westerly and a weak flood tide was beginning and we were slipping a fair amount to the East, which resulted in arriving at the Southwest corner of Angel Island instead of making a straight line to Point Stewart. We passed Point Stewart without challenge and entered Racoon Strait at 4:31. The flood was weak, so Kim didn’t get much help, but she did get some protection from the wind and the water flattened out nicely. We passed Ayala cove by 5:15 and it was starting to get light. Kim took 4x200MG of Advil with her feed. Rounding Point Campbell, the water became perfectly flat, and Kim was flying along and very happy. We left Angel Island at Point Blunt at around 6:45 and the wind came up almost immediately—12-14 knots with bigger gusts. We knew we had to get as far south and wide of Alcatraz before the ebb tide got too strong, so we sighted off mid-Bay bridge for a while, and then toward Alpha Tower Bay Bridge. This was a good line and Kim was making good forward progress, even as the ebb kicked in.
At around 7:45 the ebb was apparent, and that was about the same time Reptile decided to slowly dial our heading more toward Pier 39, but we were still north of Alcatraz and this resulted in getting caught up in a big eddy adjacent to Alcatraz. Kim quickly began getting pushed quickly toward Alcatraz and her progress toward the city to the south nearly stopped. Once caught in this river, we agreed she had a better chance of getting around Alcatraz if she hugged the shoreline, so instead of continuing to fight to the south, we had Kim swim straight to the island.
Once at the Island around 9:15, she got some relief from the wind, but the current was ripping. Kim fought very hard to gain forward progress by swimming inches from the rocks and then beside the docks at Alcatraz. Once she got past the ferry dock, she was stuck in place. She went in close… She went further out… Nothing worked. Then, we were told by the staff on the dock that a ferry was arriving in 5 minutes, and we had to move her. We were faced with the bad choice of pulling her or turning her around. We told Kim to reverse direction and swim with the tide around the backside of Alcatraz and the current whipped her around in less than 10 minutes, where we had a clear view of the goal across the Bay.
At this point, around 9:45, she aimed for the opening at Aquatic Park, but it wasn’t long before (after leaving the protection of Alcatraz) that Kim was being pushed west faster than she could swim south. For a little over an hour, she was flying toward the Golden Gate Bridge. On this stretch, the wind increased to 16-18 with much bigger gusts. At one point an alert appeared on my phone’s app (Aye Tide) to warn there was a small craft advisory in our area. A Coast Guard boat meandered nearby, watching closely, and we though they might put a stop to the swim. They didn’t.
Despite the wind and horrible swim conditions, Kim was still in great physical and mental condition (although very frustrated) and had no intention of giving up.
We changed her heading multiple times, attempting to get closer to shore at whichever spot was nearest to our current position, but she continued to slip west.
Luckily as we approached Anita Rock/Crissy Field, the wind decreased, and the tide reversed. She could now swim back in the direction of Aquatic Park. This was lucky, as the tide wasn’t expected to change for two more hours, but it was flooding near-shore and she got a great ride back to Muni Pier.
Around 11:45 she was back in Aquatic Park and landed at SERC/Dolphin beach just before Noon, finishing in a time of 10:35:49.
This was a tough swim, but Kim is an even tougher swimmer and by swimming strong, never complaining, and not giving up, she got the job done.
Well done, Kim.
Weather & Tides