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24 Jul 2009
Jon Glenn, the ASA’s Head of Learn to Swim, has decided to take to shark infested waters and swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco Bay to raise money for a male cancer charity, Orchid.

Glenn decided to do the swim as an incentive to get fit and after telling a few people about it, now realises he actually has to swim the treacherous route.

“The aim of doing the swim is to get back in the water and get fit again, and after seeing it advertised on the internet, I thought it was a good idea,” said Glenn.  “However, there is now the daunting feeling that I have to go through with it.”

Alcatraz is a deserted island, 1.5 miles from San Francisco Bay. It served as a federal prison until 1963 and was home to some of America’s famous criminals including Robert Stroud, Al Capone and George “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Due to its isolated position, Glenn will have to face the freezing waters, hazardous currents as well as avoid any lurking sharks, conditions that are not easy to prepare for.

“The training is going quite well,” commented Glenn. “I’ve been swimming three times a week since October, doing about 3000m each session. I have also been able to fit in a few cold water swims, and will have the chance to swim in San Francisco Bay the Monday before the event.”

Glenn is flying out to America on Saturday to do some training as well as have a holiday before his swim. 

“I’m not exactly going to the best place to train for the forthcoming conditions,” laughed Glenn. “I’m going to the desert for a week in Arizona.”

Many may think Glenn is slightly mad for willingly doing this swim, especially whilst on holiday, but it’s all for a good cause.

“Not only will I be trying to stay alive, but I’m hoping to raise a bit of cash for Orchid, a male specific cancer charity. I chose this organisation because there is quite a lot of focus on women’s cancers but not enough awareness about male cancers. The charity do great work for testicular, prostate and penile cancers through pioneering research and promoting awareness.

“Anyone who sponsors me £10 and above can also guess the time it will take me to complete the swim. Those nearest to the time will receive a bottle of champagne.”

Not wanting to give anything away Glenn said: “Depending on the conditions I would like to swim the course in under 40 minutes, but that depends on how tired I get, and whether I swim the right way or in a completely different direction!”

To read more about Orchid and to sponsor John, please click here.

The swim takes place on Saturday 15th August 2009. For more information on the event click here.


For more information please contact the ASA/British Swimming Media Assistant, Natalie Hassall on 001509 632236 or email natalie.hassall@swimming.org

The ASA is the English National Governing Body for Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Open Water, and Synchronised Swimming. It organises competition throughout England, establishes the Laws of the Sport and operates comprehensive certification and education programmes for Teachers, Coaches and Officials as well as its renowned Learn To Swim Awards scheme. The ASA supports 1,220 affiliated swimming clubs through a National/Regional/County structure. The ASA aims to ensure everybody has an opportunity to learn to swim.

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