Courtesy of Sally Coghlan McDonald, San Francisco, California.
Frank Coghlan was an American open water swimmer from California and a member of the South End Rowing Club for nearly 40 years and swam in the San Francisco Bay almost every day until he was 80 years old.
Over the course of his career, Coghlan completed over 50 Alcatraz Island crossings and dozens of swims across the Golden Gate Bridge in the tricky and dangerous tides.
His daughter Sally Coghlan McDonald recalls the legacy that her father left in the open water.
“Coghlan Beach is a small sandy beach at the end of a spit of land that forms the outer edge of the harbor behind Marina Green [in San Francisco Bay between Aquatic Park and the Golden Gate Bridge].
The beach was named for him after he was pulled in there by the tides during a long swim. He was over a mile from his destination and had to be picked up by one of the pilots. It was so foggy that day he had no idea where he was – he could not see the entrance to the harbor only a few yards away. He stood there in his Speedos and bright orange cap until one of the rowers came to get him. That may be the only time he was every picked up by a pilot boat. He was a VERY strong swimmer and finished what he started.
Needless to say, he received a lot of good-natured ribbing from the other members of the club, especially those much younger than he was. They named the beach in his honor. Though it started out as something of a joke, the name stuck. Every year since then the South End holds the Coghlan Beach Fun Swim as one of its official swims.”
For more information on the Coghlan Beach Fun Swim, visit the Dolphin Club website here.
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