Lotus girl attempts Alcatraz to San Francisco swim

05/26/2012 12:00 AM

05/30/2012 8:44 AM

A girl from the tiny community of Lotus in El Dorado County hopes to make a big splash by becoming one of the youngest people to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco on Memorial Day.

Nine-year-old Jordan Freer will enter the water from a boat along with 350 adults competing in an organized swim near the famed island in San Francisco Bay about 8 a.m. on Monday.

About 1.5 miles later, if all works out as planned, young Jordan will have made her way through the cold, salty waters to a beach at the Presidio. Her father, Tom, will be swimming right next to her.

Jordan has been on a swim team since she was four years old. To prepare for Monday's swim, she has been training at Folsom Lake.

"Jordan is never more Jordan than when she is in water," blogged her mother, Heather Freer. "I've always sworn she has gills."

In her blog posts on the upcoming swim, Heather Freer says her daughter never complains, never balks, never slows, never whines.

"She sees water as a privilege and a refuge," wrote her mother.

The water will be 55 degrees and the tide will be going out when the Alcatraz swim starts.

"There's a little bit of a drift there," said Tom Freer. "If you jumped in the water and didn't do anything you would be under the Golden Gate Bridge in about an hour. There is current going out so you have to aim your swim. They cover all that in the pre-swim."

Her father said Jordan is prepared. "Our goal is just to make it," he said.

On race day, Jordan will be 9 years and 138 days old. That won't make the third grader the youngest to ever make the swim.

A 7-year-old Arizona boy in May 2006 swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco's Aquatic Park. It is not known if anyone younger than the boy accomplished the feat or if Jordan would be the youngest girl to complete the swim.

For her part, Jordan admits to being a little bit nervous but mostly excited.

"I'm just nervous because I've never done it before," she said. "I think I am prepared. The hardest part will be jumping off the boat. I don't want anyone to land on me!"

She said one of the reasons she wanted to make the swim was to raise money for children in Africa. She is raising money for Nothing But Nets, which distributes insecticide-treated nets to families throughout Africa.

Her father has been a Nothing But Nets supporter since Rick Reilly's 2006 column in Sports Illustrated brought attention to malaria as a global health crisis.

A donation of $10 buys a net that will protect people from the bite of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Donations may be made at www.NothingButNets.net.

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