The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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Sophie Dumanski swims beyond limits for water safety

Sophie Dumanski poses in front of the Golden Gate Bridge with her teammate after swimming its length. Accomplishing this goal helped raise money for the Neptune Swimming Foundation and water safety (Photo courtesy of Sophie Dumanski) .

Some went to concerts. Others went on vacation or stayed home for spring break. Sophie Dumanski ‘26, however, swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, all in the span of 26 minutes on April 15. Then on the 16th, she swam under the Golden Gate Bridge in thirty minutes. 

The purpose of this feat was to raise money for the Neptune Swimming Foundation to support water safety and drowning prevention efforts throughout Arizona. 

According to Phoenix Children’s Hospital, drownings are the leading cause of injury-related death for children ages one to four throughout the United States. Approximately double the national average of children of that same age group drown in Arizona alone, making water safety vital. 

Inspired by her brothers, Dumanski has been swimming from an early age. She is a swimmer for Xavier College Prep but beyond that, she swims for Swim Neptune since 2012 where the opportunity surfaced.

Back in the fall, Dumanski along with other swimmers registered to do this swim. By doing so she devoted herself to winter training from December to February at Bartlett Lake.

Dumanksi and her swim team trained in their wetsuits in conditions similar to those of the San Francisco Bay.

The distance between Alcatraz and San Francisco is approximately 1.4 miles. A swim that is considered by many to be a challenge with its 52° water, strong currents, and sea life that lurks in the bay.

While Dumanski swam she reminded herself “how much there is left in [distance] and to just keep swimming.”

Swim Neptune coach Joe Zemaitis has been Dumanski’s coach for the last three years. He has trained swimmers to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco since 2006.

The idea that “every child has a genius – a natural talent that, when recognized and unlocked, paves the way to a lifetime of success” is the philosophy Zemaitis’s coaching is rooted in.

Zemaitis believes Dumanski to be a “committed teammate, and a swimmer driven to succeed. Sophie seeks out personal challenges like the Alcatraz and Golden Gate Bridge swims and also challenges her teammates to be better every day. She works hard at practice and has earned great success in the pool, and also in open water events like the Alcatraz Swim.”

This was Dumanski’s second year in a row doing this. Despite how challenging swimming 1.8 miles under a world-famous bridge can be, she continually takes this challenge on for the sake of raising money for water safety awareness.

“This was something that set me apart from others, and I hope it inspired girls my age to have more confidence to swim,” Dumanski said.

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