Boy Escapes from Alcatraz for Katrina

Boy Escapes from Alcatraz for Katrina
Don Feria/AP

10/11/2005 AT 08:00 AM EDT

California boy Johnny Wilson set a record Monday, as the 9-year-old apparently became the youngest person in history to complete the 1.4-mile swim in San Francisco Bay from fabled Alcatraz Island to the mainland.

In doing so, he raised $30,000 for the Red Cross to aid Hurricane Katrina victims as friends and others pledged money for every quarter-mile that the boy swam.

Wilson, a fourth-grader from the northern California town of Hillborough, completed his trek through the notoriously cold and choppy water in 68 minutes as his friends cheered him on, say wire reports. He was further hindered by heavy winds.

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"It was a lot harder," Wilson said after his swim. "It was a lot wavier." Yet as "tiring" as his task was, Wilson kept going by telling himself, "I'm almost there, I'm almost there."

Previously, the record holder for the youngest person to finish the swim between the one-time prison and San Francisco was a 10-year-old girl, who swam the bay only a few weeks ago.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, a historian at the 128-year-old San Francisco Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club could only guess that Wilson was the youngest to pull off the feat, as the archivist had yet to review all of the club's records.
Boy Escapes from Alcatraz for Katrina| Hurricane Katrina

Don Feria / AP

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