Blind Teammates Escape Alcatraz in Historic Swim

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-09_8f905a4929.jpgiStock/Thinkstock (SAN FRANCISCO) -- A trio of visually impaired swimmers from Phoenix made history Sunday morning when they dove into the chilly San Francisco Bay and braved the waters to successfully escape Alcatraz. Nineteen-year-old Katie Cuppy, 17-year-old Max Ashton and 25-year-old Tanner Robinson finished the 1.5-mile open-water swim from Alcatraz Island to the foot of the Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco on Sunday, according to the Foundation for Blind Children’s Twitter account.

This was the first time blind and visually impaired teammates competed in the 2013 Alcatraz Invitational Swim, a Foundation for Blind Children news release said.

The swimmers have been outspoken that their decision to swim at the 18th Annual Alcatraz Invitational was to tackle the idea that vision loss is just a diagnosis, not a disability.

“I kind of want to prove that blindness isn’t a barrier,” Cuppy told the Arizona Daily Sun.  “Blindness isn’t the end of the world.”

“It’s mostly just bragging rights,” Ashton told ABC News' Phoenix affiliate KNVX-TV.  “It’s selfish.  It’s proving to myself that I can do it.”

The three swimmers made it across the waterway alongside sighted guides.  The course was monitored by more than 40 kayakers, lifeguards and support boats, a news release said.

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