MUIR BEACH (CBS SF) – Muir Beach resident Jon Rauh probably thought he’d seen some impressive feats after returning from the San Francisco Giants home opening win over Arizona, but he says he soon became one of a handful of spectators to one of the rarest accomplishments in Bay Area athletics, one some say hasn’t been done since 1967.
Shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, Rauh said he was alerted by a friend and member of the San Francisco Dolphin swimming club that an accomplished open-water swimmer who had been attempting to complete the 20-plus mile swim from the Farallon Islands to the Golden Gate has been moved off course, and was now headed toward the community of Muir Beach in Marin County.
Swimmer Craig Lenning of Denver, Co. was being tracked by GPS technology as he made the swim, according to the swim club. Rauh was alerted just before 10 p.m. that the swim was nearly complete. He walked out on the beach just in time.
“There were zero people out there…he was about 100 yards offshore and I could see a little beacon he had blinking,” recalled Rauh. “Craig said ‘Don’t touch me ‘till I get on dry land.'”
A support boat had trailed Lenning throughout the endeavor and another swimmer accompanied Lenning for the final segment. Rauh, a volunteer firefighter, said he was concerned that Lenning might need medical attention.
“He looked like he was in pretty good shape,” recalled Rauh. “I heard he had been out there since 6 a.m….he told me .”
Lenning told Rauh that the light from his flashlight helped him complete the swim.
Rauh said his contact was alerted to the swim by a Dolphin Club email. Rauh said the swim was supported by a team from a local open water swim group known as Night Train Swimmers, which had previously organized successful swims from the Golden Gate to the Farallones.
“I was blown away,” said Rauh, who posted a photo online of himself still in Giants gear alongside Lenning after the swim.
ORIGINAL 1967 SWIM: