The former site of Alcatraz prison.
Photo: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Photo: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Retired Florida judge celebrates 87th birthday by swimming from Alcatraz to SF 

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Bob Beach navigated the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay in 46 minutes on Tuesday, averaging 67 strokes per minute.

“Water has been a big part of my life,” Beach told KGO. 

Beach grew up in Santa Monica, California, and put himself through the University of Tampa by working in a Tampa strip club, the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2008. He graduated from the Stetson College of Law in 1958. He took up swimming in his 30s after quitting chain-smoking cold turkey.

“Swimming makes you emotionally very tranquil,” Beach told KGO.

Swimming from the site of the infamous prison was not lost on the former judge.

“When I send those guys away, I can tell them I relate to them,” he told KGO.

Beach is no stranger to strenuous athletic endeavors. He also hiked up Mount Kilimanjaro and did a parachute jump in Africa. His next swim is scheduled to be under the Golden Gate Bridge, KGO reported.

Beach retired as a circuit court judge in Pinellas County, Florida, in 1993. He said his birthday swim was exhilarating.

“To say that you swam from Alcatraz on your 87th birthday and you made it. Are you kidding me?” Beach told KGO. “I’ll never have a birthday like this.”

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