Dog Beats Most in Swim From Alcatraz

I love dogs but what the hell. There is no reason that these people should be beaten by a dog.

SAN FRANCISCO – With a stomach full of scrambled eggs, Jake dog-paddled his way into history, leaving most of the serious — and human — swimmers in his wake.

Organizers of the South End Rowing Club’s 10th annual Alcatraz Invitational — a 1.2 mile swim from the infamous prison island to the San Francisco shoreline — say the 65-pound golden retriever is the first canine known to have made the crossing.

He was the only dog among more than 500 swimmers who lept into the chilly, choppy waters on Saturday, coming in 72nd overall. His time was 41 minutes and 45 seconds.

The crowd cheered as the 4-year-old pooch made his way onto solid ground, shaking sprays of water and dodging a woman who tried to put a medal around his neck.

“It was colder and rougher than we thought it would be,” said Jeff Pokonosky, Jake’s owner and swim partner. “Jake amazed me. He was very focused. He started out really fast. I was trying to slow him down. He increased his pace to stay with the pack.”

The pair live in San Diego and swim 4 miles a week and bodysurf together, Pokonosky said. And Jake always eats scrambled eggs before a big swim.

Bill Wygant, president of the South End Rowing Club, said he was more than happy to allow a dog into the race, a first for the more than 100-year-old group.

“This swim is about personal challenge,” Wygant said. “Whether you are dog or human, it’s whatever you can achieve that counts.”

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  1. Jack's Shack August 1, 2005 at 7:48 pm

    Maybe his girlfriend couldn’t keep up.

  2. Sanora August 1, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    Jeff Pokonosky needs a girlfriend/boyfriend (depending on his leanings).

  3. Stacey August 1, 2005 at 4:02 pm

    Normally I love dogs, too. But after getting attacked by a loose Great Dane on Sat. and then being kept up last night by a barking dog in the neighborhood I am about ready to become a cat person!

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