Oct 21, 2022 - News

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin's chilly hobby

Supervisor Aaron Peskin on a recent swim in the Bay near Alcatraz. Photo: Courtesy of Aaron Peskin

Some 30 years ago a neighbor asked Aaron Peskin if he wanted to try swimming in the San Francisco Bay and the District 3 supervisor — who told Axios he'd "try anything once" — has been taking the cold plunge ever since.

Driving the news: Last weekend, Peskin took part in the San Francisco Fire Department's annual swim from Alcatraz — the seventh time he's completed the mile-and-a-quarter route.

  • "Feels good to be healthy, alive & out in nature," Peskin wrote on Twitter after the swim.

Details: Peskin, who's serving his fifth term as a district supervisor, said lately he's been swimming at Aquatic Park Cove near Fisherman's Wharf four to five times a week, though the frequency varies depending on his "agenda."

  • On the days he does dip, he's there by 6:30am and stays in the water — without a wetsuit — for around 30 minutes.

What he's saying: "My motto is death before dishonor and the wetsuit is dishonor," said Peskin, a longtime member of South End Rowing Club, located near Aquatic Park.

  • He does wear a cap, however, to keep his head from freezing.

Regarding the chance of a shark encounter, Peskin said he's more frightened by the possibility of getting run over by a boat.

  • Still, that hasn't stopped him from twice swimming across the Golden Gate and once from India Basin to Aquatic Park, passing under the Bay Bridge along the way.

"It's just the best way to start a day," Peskin said. "Your head is clear. You got a spring in your step. Things that normally would frustrate you beyond belief aren't as frustrating. It's just good."


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