Last Update: Thursday, December 12, 2013
|The New "Centurions"|
|Written by Mike Terry Sun Contributing Writer|
|Thursday, 26 September 2013 06:02|
City Councilmember Robert Gonzales And Brother Daniel Enter Annual San Francisco Swim Race To Raise Funds For Scholarships
M. TERRY / SFVSThe Brothers Swim -- Daniel and Robert Gonzales wrap up their training for the Alcatraz Swim with the Centurions in San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 28. They are competing in the race to raise funds for local scholarships.
When San Fernando City Councilmember Robert Gonzales takes the plunge into scholarship fundraising, he really takes the plunge.
On Saturday, Sept. 28, Gonzales and his brother Daniel will participate in the 11th annual Alcatraz Swim with the Centurions race, which begins at the old Alcatraz prison, and finishes 1.5 miles later at the Aquatic Park in the Bay of San Francisco.
The brothers are swimming to raise money for a pair of scholarships that will be given to a pair of students attending next year's Cesar Chavez Inspirational Youth Conference in San Fernando.
One scholarship is in his name, and the other in the name of former Councilmember Julie Ruelas.
Gonzales said the idea for the swim as a fundraiser came to him about a year ago.
"When I ran for council, I had some excess money in my campaign account, a little over $300," he said. "Since I was working with a collaborative committee to create a scholarship for the Cesar Chavez Youth Conference, I gave that to them as seed money."
At the recent conference held in March, Gonzales said two scholarships, totaling more than $1,000, were presented. But he's trying to do more.
Then he learned about the race.
"My brother and I heard about the swim about a year ago, and approximately 7-8 months ago we decided to do it," Gonzales said.
They have been training in various pools for nearly six months. Although they don't have a personal trainer preparing them, Gonzales said they are in contact with a swimming coach who has been sending them weekly workout programs by email. Daniels is the more experienced swimmer; he was competing in distance events for the College of the Canyons two years ago. Gonzales said he hasn't swam competitively "since I was 14" but is eager for the challenge.
"Our stamina is good," Gonzales said. "Since I've been training I've lost about 15 pounds and have more energy."
The race itself is not for the be wearing wetsuits, and specially insulated caps designed to keep their heads warm.
Gonzales admits they have not done any open water training in the ocean, but said he and Daniel expect to be ready. As a prelude to the Sept. 28 race, they swam in Lake Castaic. "It was a 1,000 kilometer race. My brother came in first and I was second in our age bracket (20- 29)," Gonzales said proudly.
He said he has raised $800 so far in donations, and that figure could rise to $1,300 after Saturday's race. And, he said, he hopes that figure will continue to grow.
Gonzales will reach another milestone on Sept. 28 – his 30th birthday.
It will be a happy one if he and his brother complete the swim.
For those interested in contributing to the Robert C. Gonzales and Julie Ruelas scholarships, donations of $10 or more can be sent to:
Pueblo y Salud, Inc
1024 N. Maclay Ave.
San Fernando, CA 91340
Attn: Gonzales Scholarship
All donations are tax deductible.