Tomi Rocky’s Remarkable Swim Between San Francisco’s Iconic Bridges

Tomi Rocky’s Remarkable Swim Between San Francisco’s Iconic Bridges

Tomi Rocky (Tamás Patkás), a para-athlete from Győr, Hungary and Para Performance of the Year Nominee in 2022, successfully completed the challenging San Francisco Bay 10K Bridge-to-Bridge Swim in the Pacific Ocean, between San Francisco’s Golden Gate and Oak Bridges.

Tomi Rocky, who lost his legs in an industrial accident, faced one of his most daunting challenges yet. Having previously completed the swim from Alcatraz, he aimed to conquer the waters between two of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks. The journey began with extensive preparations and training sessions in Hungary.

Amid dense fog and challenging conditions, Tomi set off with his support team. The visibility was poor, and the 13°C water was frigid.

“The visibility was good, and in a neoprene swimsuit, I didn’t feel much of the biting cold water. However, the meter-high waves often made my task very difficult. There were situations where, because of the high waves, I mistook Alcatraz Island for a huge barge. My American support team deserves praise; one of their members, a woman named Kelly Gentry, jumped into the water with me and showed me the right way from the first meter to the last in the waters of the Pacific Ocean.”

His partner, Anikó Jones, and his strength coach, Csaba Molnár, played crucial roles in his preparation and Pacific Open Water Swim Co for the swim’s safety and success.

Tomi said,

“All’s well that ends well. This saying is very true for my Tuesday swim in San Francisco. There were two ominous signs before my planned swim from bridge to bridge. Firstly, the nearly 20-hour flight was extremely taxing without legs; I had to sit in a way that almost entirely my back supported my body weight.

Even more troubling was the dense fog that covered the northern California city in the first days. The visibility was so poor that the Golden Gate Bridge could only be seen in patches from a few meters away. Nevertheless, I plunged into the Pacific Ocean on the first possible day, as the captain of the local Pacific Open Water Swim Co. organization determined that the currents on Tuesday morning were favorable for my special technique of swimming without legs, and we couldn’t expect better weather conditions for the rest of the week.”

Tomi completed the 10-kilometer swim in an impressive 1 hour and 49 minutes. This time is particularly notable given the difficult conditions and the need to avoid boat traffic near the Oak Bridge.

“I’m glad that I was able to complete what I traveled half the world for on the very first day. An official from Guinness World Records also witnessed my swim, and I hope this will allow me to be included in the collection of special records,” Tomi said.

Interestingly, during the same days Tomi traveled to California, Hollywood released the action movie, “Chief of Station” in which he played a tiny role at the beginning.

Tomi said, “In the film starring Aaron Eckhart (the American actor has played alongside stars such as Julia Roberts and Jack Nicholson, while in Nolan’s second Batman movie, The Dark Knight, he brought the main villain to life), I am a victim of an explosion, a person who loses his legs in the detonation. So I got a truly fitting role in the production.”

Tomi Rocky quoted Goethe on Facebook, “Those who do not attempt the impossible, will never achieve the possible.” His accomplishment proves the incredible potential of para-athletes and inspires the global community of open water swimmers to pursue their own goals with courage.

Photo credits: Pacific Open Water Swim Co.