Dog Beats Men (428 Of Them)
SAN FRANCISCO, August 1, 2005
"This swim is about personal challenge. Whether you are dog or human, it's whatever you can achieve that counts."
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."