A Quarter Century Later: Bob Placak vs Trent Grimsey

A Quarter Century Later: Bob Placak vs Trent Grimsey

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

He started as a pool swimmer, one of the finest Australia distance freestylers in his day. Then he added ocean races to his arsenal in his native Australia and around the world. He shifted gears and became one of the best professional marathon swimmers in the world. From winning races on the professional marathon swimming circuit to competing at the FINA World Championships, Trent Grimsey eventually transformed his physical talents to set the English Channel record in 2012.

But then it stopped. He retired from the sport and started to coach.

However, Grimsey‘s change from an athlete to a coach on the pool deck and shorelines was not enough. Trent Grimsey still yearned to push his body and feed his competitive nature. Gradually, he came back to the sport but added a bit of spice to his endurance schedule.

One of his newest adventures will be an attempt to break the record for the fastest swim from San Francisco around Alcatraz Island and back on September 12th. Kim Peinado Howard, past president of the South End Rowing Club, explains, “Trent will be in San Francisco next week as the guest of the South End Rowing Club, located in the Aquatic Park Historic District of San Francisco. We are hosting our annual fundraising event next weekend and Trent is our Guest of Honor at our 19th Annual Alcatraz Invitational Swim. He decided to attempt to break the round-trip Alcatraz swim record while he’s in town.”

Grimsey will attempt to break the 25-year round-trip Alcatraz swim record of 1:05:15, held by Bob Placak of Tiburon, California. The round-trip Alcatraz swim is approximately 2.7 miles, depending on currents. With the optimal tides in mind at 8:30 a.m., Grimsey plans to start from the beach of the South End Rowing Club in Aquatic Park Cove, swim out and around Alcatraz, and swim back to Aquatic Park.

The volatile San Francisco Bay weather and currents make this record attempt an exciting but completely unpredictable swim,” says Bill Wygant, President of the South End Rowing Club. “That said, Trent Grimsey understands rough open water like very few people in the world and sticks to an incredibly rigorous training regimen. If anyone can break this record, it’s Trent.”

Later that same evening, Grimsey and Lynne Cox will speak at the Presidio Sports Basement.

The next day, Grimsey will train swimmers in a limited number of open water swim clinics at Aquatic Park. To participate, contact Bill Wygant via [email protected]. Grimsey and his brother Codie Grimsey train open water swimmers in Brisbane, Australia in person, via correspondence, and through video analysis at Grimsey’s Adult SwimFit.

On Sunday, September 14th, Grimsey will swim from Alcatraz to shore along with 850 other swimmers from around the world as part of the South End Rowing Club’s 19th Annual Alcatraz Invitational fundraising event.

Note: It will be interesting to see what kind of swimwear Grimsey will wear on his attempt. 25 years ago in the non-techsuit era, Placak wore a standard issue nylon brief.

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