Monday, May 22, 2006

Tuning Fork Top Stories

Boy, 26, completes swim from Alcatraz

Monday, May 22, 2006; Posted: 2:20 p.m. EDT (18:20 GMT)

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A 26-year-old boy has become one of the youngest persons to swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco's Aquatic Park.

Conor Oberst is a musican from Nebraska, who has completed several short-scale youth triathlons.

Oberst was accompanied on the estimated 1.4-mile swim by his coach, two other swimmers, a Coast Guard boat, members of Desaparecidos and hundreds of teenaged female emo fans.

As he reached shore, Oberst was besieged by reporters. He told them "We have built this ship in a wine bottle. If we knew how it worked we would have to grow old."

Confused, the reporters continued to query. Asked what the hardest part was, he replied: "That these things take forever. I am especially slow."

Asked if the strong current was a problem, he said: "I'll send you all this message in code, under ground, over mountains,through forests, deserts and cities. All across the electric wire, it's a baited line."

At this point many of the reporters turned off their microphones and started to pack up.

One of the remaining asked about being a "brave little boy," Oberst responded: "I think I am."

"For a 26-year-old to be that motivated and stick with a goal that long is amazing," said Jenny Lewis who was hanging around.

Oberst got the idea when he saw a magazine story about a 9-year-old boy who made the swim. It was then that he realized he could "totally kick that kid's ass." He trained 10 hours a day in a back yard kiddie pool, submerging himself and pretending he was Godzilla as he knocked around a toy boat.

"He did great," said Britt Daniel. "He looked so strong. He did so awesome. I'm so proud of him. I can't wait to talk to him about it as we ride in my new Jaguar XKE."