Swimmers dive into Columbia for annual cross-channel swim

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The Roy Webster Annual Cross-Channel Swim begins at 6:30 a.m.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was a beautiful morning to be free under the early morning sunshine at the Columbia River Gorge for the 76th annual Roy Webster Annual Cross-Channel Swim this Labor Day.

More than 400 swimmers boarded the sternwheeler in Cascade Locks for the mile ride upstream to the jump-in location early Monday morning.

Swimmers of all shapes and abilities went down river as they have been for 2 decades — led by Fred the inflatable alligator who is in great shape considering this is his 26th year on the job.

Fred may be showing his age, but 87-year-old Franklin Alvey is not. The only thing “old” about Franklin is his age. Franklin is the oldest registered swimmer in this event. He was a scout swimmer in the Marine Corp that entailed a ten-mile swim in the ocean — he said he’s never stopped swimming since.

“Primarily I just enjoy the swim — I’m not a fast swimmer, I’m more endurance — I just enjoy it,” he said.

Both Fred and Franklin were the first to dive into the 72-degree water.

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