Boy Swims From Alcatraz to San Francisco
Monday, May 22, 2006 3:42 PM EDT

San Francisco - A 7-year-old Arizona boy swam from Alcatraz Island to the city in 47 minutes Monday, where his father lifted him from the chilly waters.

Braxton Bilbrey was joined by his coach and two other adults for the estimated 1.4-mile swim. The second-grader was greeted at the finish by reporters, photographers and well-wishers.

"I think it's pretty cool," the wetsuit-clad boy said shortly after his father grabbed him under the arms and out of the water, which was in the mid-50s Monday.

Braxton said his next ambition is to swim the English Channel.

Stacey Bilbrey originally wasn't sold on the idea of her son swimming from Alcatraz, but she accepted it once he proved he was dedicated to his goal.

"For a 7-year-old to be that motivated and stick with a goal that long is amazing," she said.

Alcatraz, once a notorious federal prison that housed some of the nation's infamous criminals, including Chicago mobster Al Capone, is now a tourist site that attracts about 1 million visitors a year. It also draws a fair share of swimmers who attempt the crossing as part of the annual Escape from Alcatraz triathlon.

Braxton, who lives in Glendale, Ariz., got the idea when he saw a magazine story about a 9-year-old boy who made the swim. Johnny Wilson, a fourth grader from Hillsborough completed the swim in 53-degree waters last October.

Coach Joe Zemaitis said Braxton, who has completed several short-scale youth triathlons, planned to rest up after his swim.

"He did great," said his dad, Steve Bilbrey. "He looked so strong. He did so awesome. I'm so proud of him."