87-year-old St. Pete judge sets record as oldest person to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - UPDATE:

Retired St. Petersburg Circuit Court Judge Robert E. Beach completed his record setting swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco on his 87th birthday.

Judge Beach finished the 1.25 swim in 46 minutes and 29 seconds in 58 degree water.  He is scheduled to swim the length of the Golden Gate Bridge in shark infested water on Thursday.

ORIGINAL STORY:

It's 4:00 in the morning and the Honorable Robert E. Beach's alarm clock goes off.

It's the same time, everyday. Not so that he can get to court, but so that he can get to the pool. He makes sure he is making a splash by 5:30.

"I was up and I say, if it weren't for the swimming and you getting up at 4:00, you wouldn't be here," said Beach.

His last name is just perfect, considering it would seem he was born for the water.

Beach will celebrate his 87th birthday on Wednesday, July 26th and he is doing it with a bang. He will attempt to be the oldest person to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco. And yes, he has been training for this.

"I swim 3,000 meters every morning and that's just under two miles and I do it five days a week," said Beach.

Swimming that far is of course not easy and his journey to get to this point wasn't either.

"I was a 20 year smoker!  [I smoked] three packs a day and I finally gave up smoking. [I gave up smoking] and picked up swimming," said Beach.

The first day he got into the pool, he was only able to swim one lap. The stress was too much on his lungs that had been abused for so many years by the cigarette smoke.

Now, Beach swims for more than an hour a day. 

He's also still a part-time judge in the Tampa Bay area, but he only hears cases when he wants to now. He said some of his best decisions for the courtroom came from swimming in lane one.

After traveling to 125 countries and all 50 states, raising 4 children, enjoying 4 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, he says this Alcatraz swim will be one of his greatest accomplishments.

So what's his secret to living a long life? Enjoy your family, work hard, don't let money control you, "being single and...

"I don't do the internet. I don't do computers. I don't need them," said Beach with a smile.

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