12-Year-Old Poised to Swim in Alcatraz Race in Chilly, Shark-Infested Waters

She’s by far the shortest swimmer in her group at her camp, standing several feet shorter than girls clad in bikinis and one-pieces who tower over her.

And on Sunday, Lilly Redwine will likely be among the tiniest and youngest swimmers to compete in the Tri-California Events’ 2015 Alcatraz Challenge in San Francisco.

She’s among 400 athletes, who range in age from 12 to 75, who have signed up to swim the iconic crossing in chilly, shark-infested waters.

“I started swimming when I was three,” she said this week from Camp Longhorn in Cypress, Texas, where she lives. She joined her first competitive race in kindergarten.

The Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon begins with a boat jump into the San Francisco Bay and a 1.5-mile race from Alcatraz Island to the shores of East Crissy Beach. After that, athletes strap on their sneakers to run seven miles over the Golden Gate Bridge.

“It seemed like a challenge,” Lilly said of why she wanted to participate. “It seemed like it would be fun.”

David Reynolds
Lilly Redwine of Cypress, Texas is poised to swim in the Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon in San Francisco on Aug. 16, 2015.

Lilly said she trains 10 hours a week with her club team and that backstroke is her favorite stroke.

As for Sunday’s big race, Lilly said she’s participated in triathlons before, but never “something this big.”

For more information on the race, click here.

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