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Attorney’s swim from Alcatraz to benefit cancer research

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An Indianapolis attorney will take on the cold, rough waters of San Francisco Bay next month, swimming from Alcatraz Island to raise money for cancer research.

Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP partner Carolyn Clay Hall will be making her second crossing from Alcatraz to San Francisco as a benefit for the American Cancer Society. She swam the bay in 2007, and on June 7 she’ll ply the nearly 1.5-mile waterway again in honor of her mother, who is battling ovarian cancer.

Hall hopes her swim raises $11,000 for research. Donations can be made on the American Cancer Society’s event website. Hall raised $10,000 in her previous swim in honor of her father, who died of cancer in 2002.

Hall’s swim will take place when the water of San Francisco Bay typically is about 57 degrees, and she said acclimating to the cold is the most challenging aspect of the swim. She swims two to three times a week with Indy Aquatic Masters and soon will do some outdoor open swims to condition for the cold-water swim.

“I think it catches the eye when somebody says they’re going to swim from Alcatraz,” Hall said. “I think people are hooked by it.”

Hall will be accompanied by several hundred swimmers making the crossing, but she said she won’t likely beat her time of 2007. “I was in a lot better shape back then,” she said. She also hadn’t had Anna, her daughter who’s now 15 months old.

Some people think swimming from Alcatraz is crazy, Hall said, but there’s also a mystique about the island that houses the famed prison known as “The Rock,” as well as legendary escapes and attempted ones.

“People wonder if there are sharks in the water,” she said. “I didn’t see any sharks.”

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