FanDuel - WFBC

May 22, 2006

The hard part? "The swimming.": Seven-year-old Braxton Bilbrey swam the 1.4 miles from Alcatraz Island (yes, The Rock) to San Francisco's Aquatic Park today. If you don't know, that water is cold like ice water, any time of the year. SF Chronicle reports that it took Braxton 47 minutes to complete the swim, and he will donate money raised by the event to swimming safety programs in Arizona. Braxton for President in 2008!

posted by worldcup2002 to other at 02:36 PM - 28 comments

I don't believe it. You can't escape from alcatraz. Nope.

posted by justgary at 02:42 PM on May 22

Well, I officially suck as a person. A 7 year old has one-upped me.

posted by timdawg at 03:00 PM on May 22

Hey- did anyone see that episode of MythBusters when they investigated the Alcatraz "escape"? That was an interesting episode.

posted by redsoxrgay at 03:03 PM on May 22

Wow, that is cool. Kids are amazing! They are always doing something unbelievable. For intance, my son can climb over chain-link fences in 30 seconds flat! But I thought that there were sharks in them thar waters?

posted by wingnut4life at 03:08 PM on May 22

I'm not a big fan of encouraging ever-younger kids in record breaking attempts that risk their life. He certainly sounds like an incredible kid, but I question the judgment of his parents.

posted by rcade at 03:12 PM on May 22

I agree with rcade. You have to wonder in these circumstances how much it is that the kid wants to do something vs. how much it is that her/his parents want her/him to do it.

posted by holden at 03:21 PM on May 22

Oh Yeah! Well my four year old can burp his ABCs, with a snot bubble in his nose.

posted by seansterps at 03:33 PM on May 22

I think I have to agree with rcade also. I mean no 7 year old is going to come up with an idea like this on their own and, in spite of all the safety measures they took, it does smack a bit of daddy living out a fantasy through his kid. Sort of like a swimming version of the mothers that enter their daughters in beauty pagents way too young.

posted by commander cody at 03:38 PM on May 22

Oh Yeah! Well my four year old can burp his ABCs, with a snot bubble in his nose. Really? I didn't learn to do that until just a few years ago. Really bugs my wife.

posted by commander cody at 03:41 PM on May 22

One of the main things I have learned from being a parent is that it is dangerous territory to judge other parents. I can see some scenarios where a parent would be hard-pressed to say no to a persistent and determined child wanting to do something like this. The kid practiced. He was physically able. They had security precautions. Obviously, they felt it was safe. In all likelihood, the parents know more about the risks than anyone on this thread. So, I will just say congrats and that I hope this child is able to keep his determination as he gets older and becomes a teenager. And, I am not saying this stuff about judging parents because everyone thinks my daughter should be potty-trained while I am almost positive that she never intends for that to happen.

posted by bperk at 03:49 PM on May 22

From the article, they really didn't push the kid. He insisted on it, and it was because it's unusual for a 7-yr-old to stick to something so diligently (as a dad, I know how unusual this is) that the parents relented. Plus, this kid has already competed in several kid triathlons (triathlons! not egg-and-spoon or sack races) so it's not like he's new to extreme physical events. Like bperk sez, don't be so quick to judge. And btw, how many of you actually read the article? The boy had three guys swimming alongside (including his personal trainer) and a fricking Coast Guard boat trailing along the whole way.

posted by worldcup2002 at 03:54 PM on May 22

My favorite moment was when the reporter walked up to the kid and asked him what was the hardest part. The look on the reporter's face when he answered was great! If theat wasn't a "well Duh" kind of answer I don't know what is. Kudos to the kid.

posted by blakrain at 04:58 PM on May 22

Neat for the kid to do it I think. I hope the parents paid for the coast guard being there because I don't want the taxpayers paying for things like this.

posted by T$PORT4lawschool at 05:26 PM on May 22

I am sort of on the fence with this story, as a father I hate the thought of kids being pushed to far. But on the other hand as a father I would encourage my child to do their best and shoot for greatness. What Braxton did was great. I know I couldn't do it.

posted by PGHTOS at 05:27 PM on May 22

I don't want the taxpayers paying for things like this I dont mind that much the Coast guard was there, thats their job. Had lord forbid the swim not been a success, everyone would have been asking were was the coast guard. Protecting a childs life I will gladly send my tax dollars for...

posted by PGHTOS at 05:33 PM on May 22

And Jessica Dubroff really, really wanted to be the youngest kid in America to fly a plane. Sorry, I still think this is as creepy as stage parents pushing their eager-pleaser kids to be the next Macauley Culkin or the next Dana Plato. Here's the press release that preceded the event, which came from a PR firm. My guess is that his swim coach Joe Zemaitis is the one pushing this, since he's a former child IronMan competitor, current IronMan and he runs a elite youth swim team called Neptune Natation.

posted by rcade at 05:41 PM on May 22

Either way, I get tired going up and back in a backyard swimming pool, so this kid is truly amazing if you ask me. And have you looked at the water in the San Francisco Bay lately? I wouldn't toss my dog in that sludge. This kid deserves kudos and nothing else.

posted by donnnnychris at 05:59 PM on May 22

Sorry, I still think this is as creepy as stage parents pushing their eager-pleaser kids to be the next Macauley Culkin or the next Dana Plato I think filling your child with hope of becoming a movie star or Tv star is wrong because the child or the parent ultimately doesn't have control of the outcome. TV and movie Execs do. But encouraging a child to be in shape and eat right, so they are physicaly capable of doing things most people can only dream about is different. Take olympic gymnast's for example, they start out young.

posted by PGHTOS at 06:02 PM on May 22

Regardless of the ethical issues, I find it amazing that he had the persistance and determination to train for and complete the event. I can speak from expirience when I say swimming is one of the hardest sports to participate in and for someone that young to have the determination to do what it took to complete the swim is amazing.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:11 PM on May 22

Olympic gymnasts start out young, stunt their growth, and are handed off to often cruel and relentless trainers. Read about the Romanian women's gymnastics program sometime.

posted by rcade at 06:12 PM on May 22

Read about the Romanian women's gymnastics program sometime They key here is Romanian, I am sure their are lots of third world countries who abuse child athletes but the US isnt one of them.

posted by PGHTOS at 07:12 PM on May 22

They key here is Romanian, I am sure their are lots of third world countries who abuse child athletes but the US isnt one of them. Well, we're not Rumanian and we're not in the developing world (and theoretically neither is Rumania, but let's not let facts interrupt a good rant). We sure do abuse athletes of all ages, though. I consider it unlikely that the kid was really the major driver behind this; however, as someone who was swimming as soon as I was walking and who spent hours every day in the water, "I wonder if I can swim to/from that island" is a thought that does occur to water-loving kids. Many was the time that an adult or an older sibling hove up beside me in a boat: "Uh, where are you going?" "The other side of the lake!" It's not the kind of drive that ends up in an epic like this one, but I sort of understand where a kid would say, "Wow, I'd love to swim to that island out there," (and then a bunch of adults ran with it, probably).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:14 PM on May 22

I am sure their are lots of third world countries who abuse child athletes but the US isnt one of them. That's a little short-sighted. I'd be willing to bet that there are some kids in Little League baseball, basketball, soccer, football and hockey who are being pushed too hard by their parents, to the point where it might be considered "abuse" by an outsider. Making a kid take an extra 100 swings with a bat, run another lap, keep shooting free throws until you get 20 in a row or hit the weights to toughen up...that's abuse.

posted by grum@work at 10:57 PM on May 22

I wasn't allowed to swim for thirty minutes after I ate spaghettios. That was in a pool. I guess the difference here is that swimming from "this island," is considered extremely dangerous. My kids can swim. Allowing them to try to swim to S.F. from Alcatraz should not be considered rooting them on, but rather betting their lives on them. I wouldn't have egged my kids on even if I had give them a fun noodle.

posted by tselson at 10:58 PM on May 22

If I did that I would keep the money earned

posted by houston2006 at 11:09 PM on May 22

There's no way I could even come close. That's way too far to doggy-paddle.

posted by MrFrisby at 11:44 PM on May 22

That's a little short-sighted Well for those who didnt bother to read the whole conversation we were talking about olympic athletes!! Not everyone.

posted by PGHTOS at 05:45 PM on May 23

Well for those who didnt bother to read the whole conversation we were talking about olympic athletes!! Not everyone. Well, actually, no, we weren't. We were talking about child athletes, who could be Olympians (although it's a lot less likely than it used to be) or could be Little Leaguers. This kid is neither, but despite the magnitute of his swim, he's closer to a Little Leaguer than he is to a Romanian gymnast (under their former program; times have changed, son) or a child in the Chinese athlete development program. You can almost certainly make the case that all involve children having decisions made for them by adults that don't reflect the kids' best interest, but beyond that, there are some very different drivers there.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:56 PM on May 23

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