How lifelong swimmer has found long-distance tranquility


Swimming from the time she could walk, Marcia Cleveland swam thousands of hours in the pool training for her high school career as an All-American and for four years of varsity swimming at Yale University that ended with her graduation in 1986.

“When I was done, I wanted to be done,” remembers Cleveland, who couldn’t get to that finish line soon enough. “During my last race, I was thinking of going out for a beer with my teammates.”

Six weeks on dry land turned out to be enough of a respite from the sport of so many years of labor. “I was relieved not having to do it, but I realized I missed it,” Cleveland says. Working for an advertising agency in New York, Cleveland was lured to the beach by friends who enjoyed swimming in open waters.

“I did see ‘Jaws’ when I was 11, and that kept me out of open water for 10 years,” says Cleveland.

Now a swim instructor at Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Northbrook, Cleveland, 54, has battled fear, cold, exhaustion and jellyfish to conquer the world’s greatest swimming challenges, including the legendary English Channel, the 28½-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, California’s Catalina Channel Swim, the Chicago Skyline Swim, and the treacherous North Channel swim between Ireland and Scotland.

See Daily Herald

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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