Ned Denison came up with the concept of the Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims and the Quatro Crown of Prison Island Swims.
With more and more former prison islands opening up to the open water swimming community, the Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims and the Quatro Crown of Prison Island Swims is expanding.
Besides Denison and his like-minded global-trotting aquatic adventurers, home-grown local swimmers like Jacques Tuset have begun to swim from their former prison islands to the mainland.
The Octad of Open Water Swims or Prison Island Swims includes the following open water swims around formerly well-guarded isolated prison islands.
1. Le Château d’If (France) is a fortress and former prison) located on the island of If in the Mediterranean Sea in southeastern France
2. Fort Boyard (France) is an oval-shaped fort and military prison located between the Île-d’Aix and the Île d’Oléron in the Pertuis d’Antioche on the west coast of France
3. Devil’s Island (French Guiana) is 14 km (9 miles) off the coast of French Guiana in South America and a well-known location of the French penal system and a leper colony
4. Île de Gorée (Senegal) is known as the location of the House of Slaves located off the coast of Senegal
5. Robben Island is the former isolated prison home of Nelson Mandella and other South Africans 7.5 kilometers off the coast of Cape Town
6. Alcatraz Island is the former isolated prison home of Al Capone and other celebrated American criminals 1.5 miles from Aquatic Park in San Francisco Bay in California, U.S.A.
7. Spike Island (Irish: Inis Píc) is the former isolated prison home of infamous immates 2 kilometers off the coast in Cobh Harbour, Ireland
8. Rottnest Island, the finish of a 19.7 km Rottnest Channel Swim west of Perth, Western Australia, was used as an Aboriginal prison between 1838 and 1931 for men and boys
Robben Island, Alcatraz Island, Spike Island, and Rottnest Island are now 21st century sites better known in the swimming community for challenging open water swims with tricky currents and surrounding marine life rather than its penal history. Convicts of the past have given way to contemporary open water swimming traditionalists and wetsuit-clad triathletes and swimmers.
Photo shows the incomparable Australian Dieter Loeliger preparing for another Rottnest Channel Swim in 2012.
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