Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dislocated rib

The question of dislocating of a rib while swimming, came up in our channel chat group this week.
Had it happened to anyone, and unfortunately I have had a multitude of injuries, so 'yes'. I also have been lucky to have healed from all my injuries and I continue to learn how to prevent most of them.

Of course, this LONG distance swimming, has extreme overuse concerns on our bodies. It's not just the 'big' swim we are looking forward to, but ALL the training that goes into the PREPARATION.

I can not stress the importance on working on technique and strengthening the small stabilization muscles, not just through swimming, but weight training, yoga and calisthenics.

In 2007, during my 9th E.Channel crossing, I had excruciating pain that started in the 10th hour of the swim. The discomfort began with an occasional spike of pain under my shoulder blade and gradually radiated over my right side and increased in frequency as I continued to move toward France. I swam despite the pain, which was probably a stupid move, but finally I made it to France after 13 & 1/2 hours, using only my left arm for the last 45 minutes.

When I arrived home to CT, my 1st concern was to see my Chiropractor. Upon examination, I learned I had dislocated one of my ribs. That is when I learned my stabilizing muscles surrounding the shoulder blades were in-proportionally weaker than the larger shoulder muscles. After an important realignment, I was given some simple exercises, that I can do at any time, even at this moment of typing I am exercising the shoulder blades.

Posture is very important, concentrate on:
1) keeping the shoulders down (no shrugging). Chest should be up and out.

2) bring the shoulders blades down and in (as if you are pinching the blades together)

3) add extension of one arm, as you do the exercise on one side, i.e. extend your left arm out to 90 degrees, reach a bit out, as if you are trying to reach for something, just out of reach. Now, do the exercise with the left shoulder blade. Repeat on the right.

I do this exercise while I am driving, throwing a ball for my dog or just sitting at work. When ever working with weights, it is better to use less weight, and have proper position, ENGAGE the shoulder blades. I have learned to do this exercise while swimming, as I push off the wall in streamline position, I engage the shoulder blades, it seems to help keep my stroke in alignment.

TECHNIQUE, Technique, technique.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed.

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2015 ... Swimming for Homes for the Brave

After spending the past 20 years paddling from Dover to France, it is time to venture into new waters, while helping some special people.
Soon, I will be traveling with my A-team to Scotland to swim the length of the famous Loch Ness.
As always, I try to help a Foundation raise funds and awareness and I thank you for interest and support.
I am deeply troubled with the thought of homeless individuals, especially in our US Veteran population.

That is why I am teaming up with our Connecticut-based “Homes for the Brave”. Can you imagine not having a place to call home?

Here is more information about Homes for the Brave! -Facebook pages –

- Annual Appeal with more information about our financials and programs-

-Check donations can be mailed to the following address:
Homes for the Brave
655 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

- Donations can be made online as well:

Please write “Loch Ness Swim/Marcy” to track your donation.

I will always be dedicating my swimming to all those battling cancer and in the memory of 4 special people in my life. Cancer first hit my family when I was young. My grand-aunt Eleanor Kersavage, passed away with uterine cancer and my Auntie Bea Halchak battled with brain cancer.

On January 1, 2002, our LEHY family lost Nikki Giampolo to bone cancer, just turning 16 years old. Her spirit still lives on in our East Hartford swim team.

In July of 2009, my brother-in-law, Gregory Allen Urban, who passed away, after a valient battle with lung cancer. I can see him now, talking about cars and projects around the house, music and his family.

I know Aunties, Eleanor and Bea, Nikki, Greg and all the angels will help me CUT through all this water this summer.

The St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation, based in Bridgeport, CT provides financial support for the needs that Health insurance companies don't cover, in addition to providing affordable cancer screening, wigs, medication and other things to make life easier for those suffering with cancer and their families.

Please make a donation, and thank you.

Online donations can be made at:

or you can send a check through the post to:

Swim Across the Sound
St. Vincent's Medical Center Foundation
2800 Main Street
Bridgeport, CT 06606

Thank you so very much, peace and good health to all.