Just 63 minutes after jumping into the water at Gandy Beach, Sean Doolittle, 14, emerged 3.1 miles east on Picnic Island.
He was the first of some 175 swimmers to reach the finish line in the eighth annual Tampa Bay Frogman Swim.
“The current was a little strong,” said Doolittle, an eight-grader at St. Paul Catholic School in St. Petersburg. “But I kept my focus on the Gold Star families who we came out to support, and I was able to finish.”
For the Doolittles, the swim was a family affair. About an hour after the first Doolittle made it out of the water, his father, Navy Capt. John Doolittle, made it across Old Tampa Bay. His other children, Meg, 9, and Ryan, 12, served as volunteers while his wife, Katie, was a timekeeper.