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training he was in the water three hours per day, with a fi ve-hour swim on Saturday followed by a seven-hour swim on Sunday. There are perhaps few bet er training grounds and comrades than those present in San Francisco Bay, and Evans made the most of both, completing swims from Alcatraz and back, Golden Gate Bridge to South City, and the San Francisco Lightship to Bolinas. By the time Evans stepped into the 13C waters of the Farallones at 10:17pm on 27 August he had leſt nothing to chance. Evans and a full crew from the Dolphin Club arrived at the

Farallones aboard their lead boat, the Water Queen, along with two rowboats, the USCG Auxiliary, Rita Banks, and the Crissy Flier, loaded with pilots, pacers, feeders and a physician. As a sign of a much diff erent time they also had someone stationed at the bow of the boat with rifl e in hand to deal with less than friendly marine life. Evans was a traditionalist and was clad in swim trunks, a cloth swim cap and heavy glass-and-rubber goggles. He was also coated in ten pounds of what can only be called 'Farallones grease' – marine-bearing grease mixed with graphite, as a shark repellent, applied over a base layer of wintergreen oil. When Evans hit the water he was greeted not by the anticipated 20-foot great whites but rather a large number of giant, 25-foot jellyfi sh, according to the swim logs. The scene was described as incredibly eerie, as the creatures

New Brighton Pier, near Christchurch

driſt ed just below the swimmer, but with the thick grease coating still fully intact, stings were not an issue. Evans swam alone until 3am, when the fi rst escort swimmer joined him, and those who would join him on and off throughout the swim grabbed wetsuits and fi ns just to keep up. Feedings were as critical in 1967 as they are today, albeit perhaps less sophisticated. Throughout the entire swim the Dolphin Club’s


Radioactive waste and great whites make the Farallone Islands one of the least inviting swims anywhere

Don Warto never leſt his post on the pilot boat, feeding Evans his requested 7Up and lemon Jell-O for almost 14 hours. Throughout the night and the early morning Evans maintained a front crawl at 55 strokes per minute, and only switched to sidestroke for feedings. Knowing that any extra time in that water could lead to failure, Evans never stopped moving forward. According to the swim records, the fi rst sign of any distress

shown by Evans was severe shoulder pain at 6am, but the pain responded to aspirin and when another escort swimmer joined him at 8.30am the crew became increasingly confi dent that the mainland was just a mat er of time. While the intended landing site was to be Stinson Beach, a change in tides began driving the fl otilla and swimmer north, while also slowing forward progress to roughly half a knot. Due to the rocky cliff s throughout that section of coast an advance boat had to scout out a gap between the treacherous rocks, and as the currents again changed closer to shore the crew found a small swim-able gap at Bolinas Point. Escorted by two swimmers, positioned to watch for breaking

waves and rocks, the Colonel touched bot om at 13h:44m:52s aſt er leaving the Farallones. He crawled across the jagged rocks in the surf break before, in the words of the observer, Dr Fred Howard, “Stu felt so elated that he jogged up on the beach like a track man.” Just as Bannister did for others in breaking the four-minute mile,

Evans showed us all what is possible. On 16 September, just three weeks aſt er landing in Bolinas, Evans, the ultimate sportsman, helped escort Ted Erikson on his own Farallones journey that ended in a boat under the Golden Gate Bridge. Colonel Evans had succeeded at one of the most diffi cult swims in the world, yet the soſt -spoken athlete never stopped coaching and encouraging others. Before his death from cancer in 1976, Evans spent countless hours in the water and on the pool deck, not only with his own kids but also others from the communities around Philadelphia, where he eventually set led with his wife, Pauline. His legacy continues to lead hundreds into the ocean, for

everything from a fi rst dip to a race around an island under the watchful and expert eyes of his children. While so many swimmers may celebrate conquering a section of

water, Evans and his swims continue to encourage a celebration of being part of the water. For that giſt of inspiration, Stu, we thank you. ○


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