Sunday, August 30, 2015

CT Sun: Women of Inspiration

Last night, August 29, 2015, I was honored to join Suzie Whaley and Sarah Gallardo at the CT Sun basketball game. Thank you Connecticut Sun for the recognition and wonderful evening. The half-time presentation  was memorable.

Connecticut Sun To Recognize Inspiring Women

August 25, 2015

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (August 26, 2015) — The Connecticut Sun will honor its 2015 Women of Inspiration, during a pregame reception and halftime ceremony on Saturday, August 29th, when the Sun host the New York Liberty at Mohegan Sun Arena at 7 p.m.
This year’s recipients are Marcy MacDonald, Sarah Gallardo and Suzy Whaley, who will receive the Margo Dydek Award.
“This event is one of the highlights of our summer,” Connecticut Sun vice president and general manager Chris Sienko said. “We are excited to honor three truly amazing women, who engage, challenge and inspire every day. They are wonderful role models, and we feel privileged that they have agreed to be a part of this special night.”
The centerpiece of the Inspiring Women Program, the Margo Dydek Award is named in honor of the former Connecticut Sun All Star who died unexpectedly at the age of 37 on May 27, 2011. Dydek was an accomplished professional who finished her WNBA career as the career leader in blocks, but she was better known for a warm and open spirit that endeared her to so many women’s basketball fans around the world.
“To win the Margo Dydek Award is an incredible honor,” said Whaley, the Secretary of the PGA of America. “She was just a fascinating, wonderful young woman who lost her life too soon. She really gave back not only to basketball but to those she surrounded herself with, her community and her team.”
Whaley became the first woman ever elected as an Officer of the PGA of America in 2014. Under the formal progression of offices, she is expected to become PGA President in three years, overseeing the world’s largest sports organization that conducts premier spectator events such as the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup as well as significant philanthropic outreach initiatives and award-winning golf promotions. That is just the latest in a career that has been marked by breakthroughs.

In 2003, Whaley became the first woman to compete in a PGA Tour event – the Greater Hartford Open at the TPC River Highlands – since Babe Zaharias in 1945. That came as a direct result of being the first woman to win a PGA of America Section Championship – the Connecticut PGA Section – in 2002. An accomplished teacher of the game and recognized as a Top 50 instructor by Golf Digest, Whaley will donate the $1,000 she receives from the Connecticut Sun Foundation as the Margo Dydek Award winner to PE2Tee. To find out more about the non-profit organization that helps bring golf to schools by growing the game with children of all backgrounds, visit

Marcy MacDonaldShe might be accustomed to imposing challenges, but even veteran open water swimmer Marcy MacDonald admitted to being a little nervous on her last swim. On August 2nd, MacDonald became the first American to swim the 23-mile length of Loch Ness in Scotland. It took her 11 hours, 59 minutes and 11 seconds, the third fastest solo swim of the Loch.
A podiatrist from Andover who has swam across the English Channel 15 times, the American record, MacDonald had some extra incentive to complete her swim across Loch Ness in 51 degree water. She was raising money for a cause. In this case, it was Homes for the Brave, a Bridgeport-based organization that provides, with emphasis on veterans, the housing and services necessary to help homeless individuals return to productive and meaningful life.
“The last few winters have been really brutal here,” MacDonald said. “I just started thinking about all of the homeless people. I just can’t imagine not having a place to go home to. Or not having a place somewhere warm. And then if you serve our country and are homeless? It just got to me.” It is to Homes for the Brave that MacDonald will donate the $500 she receives from the Connecticut Sun Foundation as a 2015 Connecticut Sun Woman of Inspiration. For more information, visit

Sarah Gallardo A single mother who survived 10 years of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband before leaving her marriage after the birth of her daughter, Sarah Gallardo has turned her experience into a safe haven for others with the founding of Sarah Speaks Up, a charitable organization that raises awareness about domestic abuse while also seeking to help educate, comfort and empower victims.
“The idea behind Sarah Speaks Up is essentially to speak up about the situation that I had been in,” she explained. “Domestic violence is typically something that people keep to themselves. It’s almost like a secret that you are carrying. For me, I felt like it was something that I had to get out. By speaking my truth, it encouraged other people to do the same thing.”
Gallardo, who is currently studying public relations at Central Connecticut State University, has become a certified domestic violence counselor and has shared her story through a variety of interviews and speaking engagements. She is a dedicated volunteer at the Prudence Crandall Center of New Britain, a full service shelter and counseling center. It was there where she received counseling when she was in the midst of her domestic violence relationship. Now she gives back as a speaker, counselor and advocate.
It is to Sarah Speaks Up (visit for more information) that Gallardo will donate the $500 she receives from the Connecticut Sun Foundation as a 2015 Connecticut Sun Woman of Inspiration.


Friday, August 7, 2015

Quick good bye to Fort Augustus/Loch Ness

Final day in Fort Augustus/Loch Ness, some quick highlights.... and not all about that swim. A beautiful place, not to sweat, relax and meet some really nice sincere people. On to the big city, Edinburgh, on the train, choo, choo....

Thursday, August 6, 2015

My sister Teresa MacDonald Holder was wondering why I was not posting, I just wanting to give you a break from after all that swimming 'stuff'.
We are enjoying the beauty and lovely culture of the Highlands in western Scotland, the quiet and serene mood is a wonderful holiday destination to re-energize.

As a MacDonald, this is a very place for me and Teresa and Margaret Peterson has heritage in the Sinclair clan, Janet is has Eastern European and is having fun watching us.
I'm focused now on the Thistles, saw some Poppies but quickly passed them by.
Tomorrow I see Loch Ness from the ferry.
Enjoy the beauty of your day,


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Loch Ness swim 8 2 15, the movie

The movie took almost as long to make and publish, as it did to swim.

12 minutes for 12 hours.

Dream, Prepare, Succeed

Monday, August 3, 2015

24 hour after Loch Ness

OK, after 24 hours, I have had some time to reflect on that crazy COLD swim.
The Distance: 23 miles: certainly challenging but fine
Temperature: averaging 51 degrees F: do-able
Put the length and temperature together = one really Uncomfortable Sunday swim.
Thank goodness the wind was light or non-existant: a mill-pond, a gift from Aeolus (Greek god of wind), taking pity on me.

Advise to other swimmers: Seize the day, don't wait for a "better day" : chances are you will not get it., make the Most of your opportunity.

My crew took wonderful care of me. Margaret minding the kettle (hot water is very important in warming the core), Teresa entertaining me and Janet, My inspiring feeder. Helen Beveridge from Inverness was our official BLDSA observer and Ryan Tozer and his crew, Robie, (of iPowerboat) safely escorted us north and delivered us warmed back to Fort Augustus.

I'm told I was pleasant but I don't think I smiled much yesterday, until it was over. There were times of amusement, Margaret swimming, Teresa dancing and Janet putting Gumby and Pokey out for me, but when that pink flag with a pirate came out, .... Feeding time, 45 seconds of rest and warm nourishment.

I don't know I did it, I kept reminding myself of my past swim experiences, night swimming in the channel, early season swims in Jersey, UK, my early years at Globe Hollow and playing night water tag at Columbia. All these helped adjust me for the ever dark
                                                     water of the Loch.

Thoughts of people going through worse things than me, Homeless people living in their cars, if they one, in the winter,: how do they get through the cold.

All and all, I had a peaceful sunrise, flat water and a cold long swim that I NEVER have to do again.

No injuries or hypothermia, I guess another may be in the plans, just not this cold.

Dream, Prepare, Success

Sunday, August 2, 2015

It's done, success

Loch Ness: 23 COL miles
Time: 11:59

Thank you everyone for kind comments, this will a short post, I arrived home safely, bathed in a warmer-than-normal-for -me tub, took my Ibuprofen, a couple of scrambled eggs and I'm ready to try to sleep.

Thank you my crew: janet, Teresa MacDonald Holder and Margaret Peterson for preparing my feed (photo: only time I kick breaststroke) and entertaining me. Our pilot and his crew Ryan Tozer and Robie for a safe escort, and Helen Beveridge for her BLDSA observer and informatio...n to us all about the infamous Loch Ness, oh thank you/blame Kevin Murphy planting this crazy seed in my head.

One word, Cold through out, you don't know how many times I wanted to get out.
More about this tomorrow on my cuttingwater fb page and blog with photos.
OK, zzzz time now.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Plans for Loch Ness: TOMORROW, Sunday August 2, 2015

Hi everyone,
This is my final post before the swim, if you do hear from me tomorrow, the weather has changed and we're going another day, but as I said previously, wind is favorable.

1st: Thank you for supporting Homes for the Brave, Thanks 100x over.

Track me tomorrow, Sunday August 2nd!

We meet Ryan and Robey at 5am, should be in the water at 6am.

I have a SPOT device for my Loch Ness swim.

SPOT devices use satellite technology to allow people to share communicate and share GPS coordinates from virtually anywhere in the world.

Click the link to locate my SPOT.

Just follow this link to see my location updates:

If the link doesn't work, try copying and pasting it to your browser's address bar.

Here we go, I'll be thinking about you all, thanks to all my training partner from this past year, Amanda Rossolimo, Terese Karmel, John Lenard, Elizabeth Fry, James Bayles, Marty McMahon, Doug Comstock, Greg Kohut and past swimming partners, Marcia Cleveland, Scott Lautman and my young LEHY summer swimmers, you're getting faster and hopefully wiser, Trust in your Training.

Again, Thank you all for supporting Homes for the Brave, that will help me through some tough patches also,


Our final training day

We had our final training swim today in the mouth the river Oich, everyone from the party joined in, except fuzzy Peep, not his style to get his fluff wet.

Not too many nasty comments from the gals, it is a great dipping spot for acute arthritic/injury pain, one reason I like colder water, 'you don't feel the pain in the joints' .
No heart palpitations when getting in; that's a good sign and I'm not going to tell you the temperature until it is over; these are... the instructions to my crew: No mention of temperatures.
The weather as the Scots will proclaim has been 'crap', no summer to speak of.
Tomorrow, SUNDAY, August 2nd, will probably be the day, lower wind speed, but clouds and a chance of rain, what else is new.
Apparently the wind may not affect the lower end of Loch Ness but as we go north, there is a back wash affect, so we're go for light wind over sunshine and wind, it's part of the game anyway.

— with Janet Galya, Teresa MacDonald Holder and Margaret Peterson, Gumby, Pokey and Barbie

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.