CBS News correspondent Teri Okita reports that 9-year-old Johnny Wilson made it to the shore, telling himself, "I'm almost there. I'm almost there." His parents, classmates, teachers and friends cheered him to victory.
"Can you believe it? You did it!" his father exclaimed as he embraced him.
The 4-foot-9, 86-pound boy said the beginning was hardest because the water was so cold, and it was tougher than his twice-weekly training in the bay.
"It was a lot harder because it was a lot wavier," he said. "It was like I was protected by a coat or something."
During the swim Johnny's coach watched from a nearby boat and said Johnny has an inner drive not often seen.
"I didn't think it came from him, and all along it did," Rick Murray said. "In all of the training sessions, he wanted to go further and faster."
The 1.4 mile swim wasn't just for glory. It was Johnny's idea to raise money for charity — $30,000 in all.
"Give it to the Red Cross for Katrina Victims Fund," Johnny said.
History books say inmates at the island prison frequently drowned while trying to flee, but this escape from is one for the record books.