Maturity, patience pays off for the long-distance swimmer

Mon Jul 7, 2014 10:10am EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marathon swimmer Doug McConnell circumnavigated the island of Manhattan to clinch the Triple Crown of open water swimming and join an elite club of less than 100 members worldwide.

Although he started swimming as a youngster, the 56-year-old said it is the forbearance that comes with age that helped buoy him through the 29,611 strokes in last month's swim.

"We guys in the 50-to-60 range still have enough competitive drive to make it fun and there are certain things with which we are more patient,” said McConnell.

“Patience is an important element in a nine-hour swim.”

By finishing the 28.5-mile (46-kilometer) swim McConnell, who had already swam the English Channel and the Catalina Channel in California, completed swimming' s Triple Crown. Fewer than 100 swimmers have done it, according to WOWSA (World Open Water Swimming Association).

McConnell admits age has altered his style and he is a different kind of swimmer now.

"I was a competitive butterflyer as a young man. I can’t do that anymore,” he said.

Now McConnell, a Chicago-based investment banker, swims to raise money in memory of his father, David, who died from the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2006.   Continued...

U.S. long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad swims on her way to Florida as she departs from Havana August 31, 2013. REUTERS/Enrique De La Osa