"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
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....
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.
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.
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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,
It's raining in Scotland, a common occurrence this summer according to the locals. They are patiently waiting in their rain and winter gear for a sunny warm (would love a hot day but really), we can't ask much from Mother Nature.
Last evening, I met and spoke with Chloe McCardel, a young strong Australia gal, training up here
for a another English Channel attempt, very interesting, I wish her the best.
I had another short swim at the 'beach' swimming up stream in the River Oich, behind our cottage. It's cold but bearable so far, we shall in a couple of days. I'd swim up the current for about 4 minutes and turn to fly back down to the mouth of the river. I can see the bottom here, and only saw one small quick fish swim beneath me, I'm preparing myself for the dark water, it's just another night swim with light upon turning my head. Thank you Janet for watching me, safe and smart swimming.
I met our pilot, Ryan Tozer of iPowerboat, as he and Robey had to transport the boat through the locks to Loch Ness, it's a pretty cool site to watch the large boats stepping up and down the Caledonian Canal.
If you look at my packing, you'd think it was December 28th, not July 28th, wool sweaters, mittens, hat and pants... where am I going, oh Scotland. I don't think I'll ever get used to stepping off the plane and seeing everyone in winter jackets. Our biggest adventure yesterday was traveling from Inverness Airport to Fort Augustus. I don't know how much help we were, but a friendly reminder to our driver, Margaret to stay on the left, but not too left (the roads are quite narrow)... white knuckled, especially when those lorries are passing us from the opposite direction, we arrived safe in town. What a beautiful place to lay our heads, Bon Accord in Fort Augustus, a beautiful quaint cottage on the Canal leading into and out of the famous Loch Ness.
I didn't swim yesterday, but we stopped along our journey to view the Loch, water looks beautiful, cool and I started my rock collection. I've already had notice that my swim may be quick in timing, possibly Saturday or Sunday, all depends on the WEATHER, between periods of clouds and rain, normal weather pattern this year. I'll be in touch as soon as we firm up plans. I have my tracker with me, hopefully it will work, we're going to try it today, walking around town. Dream, Prepare, Succeed Remember:
Now about the swim: My next Aqua-adventure/challenge: swim the length of Loch Ness … in the purest form, one bathing suit, cap and goggles
(No wet-suits or performance enhancements)
Swim window: August 1st-8th 2015
Start: Fort Augustus, Scotland... swim 23 miles… Finish: Loch End. Information about Loch Ness and results about the swim can be found: www.lochnessswim.co.uk Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending southwest of Inverness for approximately 23 cold miles (37 km); (I’m telling myself 52 degrees, although it may be colder, hopefully warmer). Its surface is 52 ft. (15.8 m) above sea level. Loch Ness is best known for alleged sightings of the cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, also known affectionately as "Nessie". The Loch is connected at the southern end by the River Oich and a section of the Caledonian Canal to Loch Oich. At the northern end there is the Bona Narrows which opens out into Loch Dochfour, which feeds the River Ness and a further section of canal to Inverness. It is one of a series of interconnected, murky bodies of water in Scotland; its water visibility is exceptionally low due to high peat content in the surrounding soil.
Loch Ness is the second largest Scottish loch by surface area at 56.4 km2 (21.8 sq. mi) after Loch Lomond, but due to its great depth, it is the largest by volume. Its deepest point is 755 ft. (230 m), making it the second deepest loch in Scotland after Loch Morar. It contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined, and is the largest body of water on the Great Glen Fault, which runs from Inverness in the north to Fort William in the south. For updated information, come visit my blog: www.cuttingwater.blogspot.com or Cuttingwater page on Facebook, there will be links to Homes for the Brave. Thank you for your time and have a FUN summer, Dream, Prepare, Succeed
This week was a fun birthday week, 5 birthdays ... 4 people and a pretty young country.
Monday, June 28 was my niece, Kassandra's 23rd birthday, so that was a very good workout because I didn't have any time constraints.
Happy Birthday Kassandra Holder
Thanks for the motivating numbers for today's swim.
300 warm up... 2300 swim 23 x 100 (1:40) 2300 swim 300 cool down, not that anyone needed to cool down after this morning's chilly temperatures = 7500 Happy Birthday meters
Tuesday, June 29th was 2 of our young swimmers birthdays, Kaeley turned the important adult age of 18 and young Charlie became a teenager, good old 13. I only had a short day, so ...
1800 warm-up 13 x 100 (1:40) 300 cool down = 3400 Happy Birthday meters
Wednesday, July 1st was Kurtis, my nephew, 23rd birthday also, but it was cut short due to an intense flash of lightning after only 100 meters,
I've never moved so fast OUT of the water. Oh, well, it happens.
The final birthday was our country,
USA's 239th birthday, Happy Independence day.
A nice long swim at Hammonasset with friends and a beautiful picnic at the Collins home.
Birthdays are always a fun way to get the yardage/miles in.
A special celebration: swim buddy and Friend John Lenard turned 84 today, His enthusiasm and dedication to the water is Amazing, I hope I'm swimming at that age, 'life is short' make the most of each day and year.
A shorter practice (with drag), great company with John and Amanda Rossolimo, breakfast followed. ...
w/u 450 (6+1+3+2+0+1+5=18 lengths) 6/13/2015
then 8 varied 400's
Paddles 4 x 100 (1:40)
Swim 4 x 200 (that's 2 400's)
Paddles 4 x 100
easy 400 IM (John likes IM's)
Then some weekend swimming at Hammonasset
Happy Birthday to Amanda Rossilimo and Miriam Cole; 2 of the most powerful amateur Triathletes on the world circuit. Fantastic numbers today, lots of 3's and 9's and don't forget 20 15 I hope Amanda plays the #'s tonight, 39 on 3-9-2015. ...
Have a SUPER day and year ladies.
Warm-up 3 x 225 (9 lengths) 1 x 75 (3 = March) I did backstroke 13 x 100 **(3 on 1:40, 3 on 1:35, 1 on 1:30, 3 and 3) 1 x 225 (9 = day) (++every 3rd length, breathe every 9th stroke) 13 x 100 ** 1 x 500 (20 = the 20 of 2015) ++ 13 x100 ** 1 x 375 (15 = the 15 of 2015) ++ = 5850 yards, but that would bother Amanda all day, so... 150 cool down (a breaststroke pull out with drill)= 6000 FUN Birthday yards Thanks Amanda for the company and choosing the fun, non-boring workout.
Manchester High School has produced some amazing people, but Marcella MacDonald is perhaps the most amazing. Once a swimmer on the Manchester High School Girls Swim Team, she now holds the American record for swimming the English Channel 15 times.
MacDonald recently came back to the school to share her story and inspire the students of her former high school to, “Dream, prepare, and succeed.”
Swimming the English channel is a huge accomplishment in itself so after the 15th time venturing from England to France, it is obvious there is something very unique about her. Dr. MacDonald, who is a podiatrist, gave a wholehearted smile when she was asked the first of a series of questions: What motivated her to swim the English Channel?
“Apparently, when I was 12 years old I mentioned something about swimming the English Channel…. I was always a distance swimmer.. so it just was something that kind of went into place…”
MacDonald, 50, started swimming at the Globe Hollow pool in Manchester as a young child and continued on with Manchester Swim Club, competing for the first time at age 7. She eventually competed on the MHS swimming team before graduating in 1981. Swimming beside her at each level was her twin sister, Beth Collins.
She went on to describe the first time she ever swam the 21 mile long distance in 1994.
“Each swim has been different,” she said. “My average swim has been about 11 hours. … Every 45 minutes I stop for about one minute and then I make my way across.”
She takes in nutrition via the boat that follows along side her when she is in the water. Although everyone swims the Channel without any assistance, she has eyes on her at all times for safety precautions. She also needs nutrition and energy to keep swimming, so that is also given to her during her swim.
How does it feel to be in the water swimming the Channel? Swimming for such a long period of time is much different than running or biking.
“I feel more comfortable in the water than out of the water,” she said.
Loving the cool water touch your skin and the feeling of moving your body in a rhythm with the ultimate goal of getting to the other side is a necessity in an event like this. Physically, all one needs to make it all the way across the Channel is to be in shape and, obviously, to train a lot.
It’s also more important to think you can do it.
“Mentally, to prepare for this I have worked 20 years for this, so it’s gotten a lot easier to say, ‘Well, you know you’ve been in the water for 24 hours before … there is no reason you need to get out after 12 hours,’ ” McDonald said. “A lot of my crossings were trying to do a double crossing. Some of those where I was not successful to come back to England have motivated me to try harder.”
Finally, after three tries, MacDonald had her first double crossing.
From student at our very own high school and a major part of the MHS girls swim team to doctor to the ultimate swimmer is a massive achievement. She received a congratulations from her alma mater on her 15th swim across the English Channel and a big thank you for coming in to inspire many.
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.