Marcy MacDonald’s English Channel 2-Way Swim

Dear friends and family,

Well if you haven’t already heard, I have finally defeated the the Manche (channel) for all you english speaking people. The double crossing was completed yesterday (July 27, 2001) or should I say this morning around 2:00am (London time.) After 21 hours, 17 minutes we landed on a rocky boulder beach full of seaweed….eeeeh, in Abbott’s cove, close to Shakepeare beach. First crossing to France,9 hours 53 minutes… an exciting finish right at the tip of France on Cape Gris Nez. Besides the French coast taking a bite out of right knee and a couple of scrapes from the sharp rocks, I am in one piece. Today my body feels like it was beat up with baseball bat.

Thanks to Janet and Bertha for all their help. Janet mixed up a delicious variety of drinks, 38 to be exact to keep me nourished. Bertha was in charge of entertainment and Janet’s assistant. Their eyes were always on me, especially during those last 4 hours in the dark. We all were happy to hit England and pass out when we arrived at the Victoria Guest House. A short bath to get the excess grease off and get the chill out before a very restless sleep. Every turn and move hurt so much. Feeling abit better this morning as I move around, Janet and I beat the rest down to breakfast for eggs and bacon at 7:30 am.

Well got to go, swim hard LEHY, until your arms fall off, mine almost did.

Love to all of you and thank you for all your support,

Marcy

1st American woman to do a double crossing, 7th woman in the world.


Commentary for Today – August 31, 2001, by Scott Gray – WTIC Radio

Marcy MacDonald has the captivating smile of the girl next door and the unbridled enthusiasm of that cheerleader who captured your heart and diverted your attention from the field of play. If it’s true what they say, that life is your oyster, Marcy shucks a new one every day. It’s as plain as the twinkle in her eyes that every day is a new adventure to her and anyone who doesn’t grab hold and ride it all the way out is to be pitied. In Eastern Connecticut Marcy MacDonald is a local girl in the truest sense of the word. She graduated from Manchester High School, where she was on the swimming team, she lives in Andover and she prepares for each swimming challenge in Columbia Lake, the center piece of a pastoral little town with a gazebo on the town green which is surrounded by a white wood frame town hall and the New England classic white church with a towering steeple. Her life is set in true Americana, small town folk with small town values who embrace the accomplishments of one of their own as extensions of themselves. And so it was at Columbia’s town beach last night, when Marcy emerged from the waters of the lake in which she trains to a boistrous round of cheers and applause from a large throng of well wishers, on hand to celebrate her historic achievement. The first American woman ever to accomplish a double crossing of the English Channel had officially come home, returned to the loving embrace of a hometown that has no official borders. Fewer than seven hundred people have swum the English Channel one way, fewer than half of them have done it both ways. More people have climbed Mount Everest. Winning a Most Valuable Player award in any major league sport pales by comparison. There are few, if any, sports accomplishments as legendary as a crossing of the channel. It takes incredible perserverence. Few who have done it have perservered more than Marcy MacDonald. Three times she crossed one way, always with the fabled “touch and go” in mind. The first time a torn biceps stopped her. The second time she was stalled by an overwhelming amount of pollution on the heavily travelled waterway. On the third attempt she touched the French shore knowing she was already too cold to finish the return, heartbroken at the prospects of telling her crew. This time, the fourth time, in July, from Dover to France and back to England, twenty one hours and nineteen minutes in frigid water, she swam into the history books. No American woman had ever touched the French shore and gone on to return to England, until Marcy MacDonald. Hour after hour, through the dark of night, counting strokes, ninety five thousand of them, thinking of a warm bath, a warm bed and warm blankets, always looking ahead to the crew that had worked so hard to help her make it possible. It’s the incredible story of a local girl who just happened to make history, yet it’s just another of those quiet little stories of a girl next door to whom the best part of making history was just coming home. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.