"CUTTING WATER" = ONE swim stroke. In 1994, my life changed while cutting through the cool waters of the English Channel, a place that brings me peace. Swimming is such a wonderful, lifelong sport, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, no matter what level you may be.
Dream, Prepare, Succeed.
- Marcella MacDonald
Monday, December 13, 2010
Shake it up w/ some FLY (story by Michael Ferraro)
Wow, did I work hard today, thanks to my Seattle friend, Scott Lautman. A butterflier (beautiful to watch) turns 58 today. He happens to be the oldest one of the 4 friends having B-days today, all are swimmers, so I hope they all get in the water today. Marty McMahon, who is the 1st CT resident to swim the English Channel is 48. Elizabeth Greenstein, my friend and fellow coach from the 92nd Street YM-YWHA (during my Manhattan years) is having a birthday and young Eric Spazzarrini, LEHY alumnus, is 20 today, another good butterflier, but I think his university is having him swim backstroke.
Workout: red-faced and breathing hard. No toys, just you and the water.
***During the swim 100's: Rotate a 25 of Butterfly into the 100. For example, I started with the 1st 25 on #1, the 2nd 25 on the #2, etc.
The SWIM 100's were alternating 1:35 and 1:40 intervals
The DRILL 100 was on the 2:00
200 (modified Catch-up drill: MCU)
Swim 10 x 100 ***
100 ( Catch-up Drill: CU)
Swim: 8 x 100 ***
Swim: 6 x 100 ***
Swim: 4 x 100 ***
Swim 2 x 100 ***
Swim: 4 x 100 ***
Swim: 6 x 100 ***
Swim 8 x 100 *** (Breathing very hard during this set)
Swim 10 x 100 *** (can the arms get out of the water, concentrate on good technique)
= 7000 yards
By Michael Ferraro
STORRS- Marcy MacDonald is going through withdrawal right now but not from a drug. She’s going through withdrawal because she hasn’t been able to swim in over three months-an eternity to her.
MacDonald has swum the English Channel a total of 10 times, a feat that accomplished one time might make a person happy. But not MacDonald, who would like to swim the Channel many more times. But first she has to get back into the water. “I don’t mind practicing, I like practicing. It’s killing me not to train. It’s driving me crazy,” said MacDonald.
Right now MacDonald is finding it hard to adjust to life without swimming. For her was is like torture because as she said, “It’s become my life, It’s became my passion.” MacDonald injured herself during a cycling accident where she received 40 stitches to her shin. “ I knew right away, the steel studded paddles cut through my leg like butter,” said MacDonald.
Without swimming MacDonald as a lot of free time on her hands, “I’m reconnecting with TV shows like Mr. Ed, The Patty Duke Show and the BBC News, I’m bored,” said MacDonald. “My birthday wish, is just to get into the pool, even if it is for 45 seconds,” said MacDonald, who turns 48 on November 24.
MacDonald is an accomplished long distance swimmer but it is not her profession. She is a solo-practicing podiatrist, which gives her time to plan and take some time off from the office in order to train and complete her many different swims. In 1994 she became the first Connecticut woman to swim the English Channel. She did it in 10 hours and 33 minutes. MacDonald decided to step up her goals as a swimmer.
At first she had no idea what a double is, which is swimming from England to France, then from France to England. “Freda Streeter (The Channel General and mother of “Chanel Queen” Alison Streeter) planted a seed in my brain to do the double. I tried to a double in 1997 but got injured after completing one,” said MacDonald. She tried to complete the double again in 2000 but seven hours left in the second leg of the double, her mind got the best of her “I was cold so I got out of the water,” said MacDonald. In 2001 MacDonald finally completed the double that she had been chasing for over four years. It took her 21 hours and 19 minutes. Looking back MacDonald said, “I should have done my triple then because I haven’t had decent water since.”
When swimming for long hours, some people might not be able to handle it, not just because of the endurance it takes to do the swim but the mental aspect of being alone in pitch black. MacDonald uses something as simple as counting the number of strokes to keep her mind off the boredom of long distance swimming. “Through the years you can let your mind go, I really don’t try to think about those things. The little demons in our head tell us to stop,” said MacDonald.
“You can’t touch the boat, once you touch the boat it’s over. One of the hardest things to do is touch the boat and say I’m done. Also wet suits are prohibited in the English Channel,” said MacDonald. In order for swimmers to feed their crewmembers need to give them their food because if a swimmer touches the boat their race is over.
Swimming is probably one of the most boring sports MacDonald even admitted it herself but that still doesn’t take away from the accomplishments that they reach. “I think more people are seeing swimming as a very tough sport,” said MacDonald. Her next goal is to try and complete the triple, which only has been done three times before by John Erikson in 1981, Phillip Rush in 1987 and Alison Streeter in 1990. If MacDonald completes it, she will be the oldest woman ever to complete the three trips across the English Channel. MacDonald, however, has to first get back into the water, so she probably won’t try for the triple for at least a year.
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?
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.