Marcia Cleveland is a 55-year-old American open water swimmer from Winnetka, Illinois. She lectures, coaches and provides leadership throughout the United States Masters Swimming community on all aspects of open water swimming, long distance swimming and marathon swimming.
2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year Nomination
Marcia Cleveland has been swimming fast, coaching extensively, writing descriptively, educating widely, administering selflessly, and inspiring many for decades. In particular, her cumulative time for the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in 24 hours 38 minutes (that includes a 9 hour 44 minute crossing of the English Channel, an 8 hour 56 minute crossing of the Catalina Channel, and a 5 hour 57 minute circumnavigation of Manhattan Island) is the fastest in history. Her year-end completion of the 38.6 km Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in 11 hours 19 minutes gave her the second fastest cumulative time of the Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming, men or women. The 55-year-old coach, author and mentor faced strong headwinds and navigated the 2-foot surface chop in Tampa Bay with the ease and composure of a veteran with several dozens of marathon swims under her cap. For her continued speed that she has maintained into her mid-50's, for her December 31st attempt as a solo effort on the tidal Tampa Bay rough water course, and for sharing her enthusiasm for the sport despite taking a month to recover from the swim, the Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming by Marcia Cleveland is a worthy nominee for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
Open Water Swimming Career Highlights
- She was elected as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2020.
- She holds multiple Certificates of Recognition from the International Swimming Hall of Fame
- She is a member of the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming and Half Century Club who has done numerous other open water swims and marathon swims from Santa Barbara Channel to Lake Michigan, Illinois, including the Chicago Skyline Swim and two of the Southern California Eight.
- She completed the fastest Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in history with a cumulative time of 24 hours 38 minutes 3 seconds with a 9 hour 44 minute crossing of the English Channel, an 8 hour 56 minute 10 second crossing of the Catalina Channel, and a 5 hour 57 minute 53 circumnavigation of Manhattan Island.
- In 1990, she participated in a 45.9 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim relay in 6 hours 33 minutes 40 seconds to set a mixed record.
- In 1993, she participated in a 45.9 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim relay in 7 hours 0 minutes 45 seconds to set a women's record.
- In 1991, she completed a 10.5-mile swim in Candlewood Lake in Connecticut in 4 hours 47 minutes 27 seconds.
- On 10 August 1991, she finished 5th overall as the first female in the 45.9 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 7 hours 29 minutes 35 seconds at the age of 27.
- In 1992, she completed a 10.5-mile swim in Candlewood Lake in Connecticut in 4 hours 55 minutes 27 seconds.
- In 1992, she completed a 10.5-mile swim in Candlewood Lake in Connecticut in 4 hours 44 minutes 12 seconds.
- On 29 July 1994, she completed a 33.5 km crossing of the English Channel from England to France in 9 hours 44 minutes at the age of 30, becoming the 445th person to swim the English Channel.
- In 1994, she crewed for successful crossings of the 33.5 km English Channel.
- On 13 August 1995, she finished 2nd overall as the 2nd female in the 45.9 km Manhattan Island Marathon Swim in 8 hours 3 minutes 19 seconds at the age of 31.
- In 1996, she crewed for successful crossings of the 33.5 km English Channel.
- On 2 August 1996, she set the 45.9 km circumnavigation swim record for American women around Manhattan Island in New York in 5 hours 57 minutes 53 seconds at the age of 32.
- In 1997, she was the 5th woman in the 12-mile Swim Around Key West in 4 hours 43 minutes 8 seconds.
- In 1998, she participated in a 33.5 km relay crossing of the English Channel from England to France in 11 hours 4 minutes.
- In 1998, she crewed for successful crossings of the 33.5 km English Channel.
- In 1999, she was the first woman and 4th overall in the 10 km Bermuda swim in 2 hours minutes 28 seconds.
- In 2001, she participated in a 67 km two-way relay crossing of the English Channel from England to France in 18 hours 48 minutes.
- On 24 August 2002, she won the 8-mile Boston Light Swim in Massachusetts in 2 hours 47 minutes at the age of 38.
- In 2003, she completed a 67 km two-way relay crossing of the English Channel from England to France in 20 hours 18 minutes.
- On 10 July 2004, she completed a 10 km marathon swim in Huntington Bay in New York in 2 hours 40 minutes 48 seconds at the age of 40.
- On 2 August 2005, she completed a 20.2-mile crossing of the Catalina Channel from Santa Catalina Island to the Southern California mainland in 8 hours 56 minutes 10 seconds at the age of 41 in a 3-person tandem swim with Liz Fry and David Blanke.
- On 31 July 2008, he completed the 26.2-mile (42.1 km]] Chicago Skyline Swim across Lake Michigan in 12 hours 49 minutes at the age of 44 in a tandem swim with David Blanke and Chris Layton.
- She wrote a best-selling book in the open water swimming genre about her crossing called Dover Solo, the story behind her English Channel crossing: the process, her preparation, motivation and training.
- On 17 July 2010, she completed the 10 km Morse Reservoir swim in 2 hours 42 minutes 52 seconds at the age of 46.
- On 18 June 2011, she completed a 25 km Morse Reservoir swim in Indiana in 7 hours 14 minutes 8 seconds.
- On 23 July 2011, she completed a 19.6 km Anacapa crossing in the Santa Barbara Channel in 6 hours 0 minutes 8 seconds at the age of 47 in a tandem swim.
- On 26 July 2014, she completed a 16.1 km Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota in 4 hours 26 minutes 38 seconds at the age of 50.
- On 23 August 2014, she completed a 10 km Lake George Swim in New York in 2 hours 43 minutes 12 seconds at the age of 50.
- On 20 June 2015, she completed a 10 km Morse Reservoir in Indiana in 4 hours 28 minutes 31 seconds at the age of 51.
- On 4 June 2017, she completed a 14.8 km Chattanooga Swim Festival in Tennessee in 2 hours 25 minutes 52 seconds.
- On 5 August 2017, she was the first overall solo finisher in the 25 km Swim Across The Sound in Connecticut in 9 hours 26 minutes at the age of 53.
- On 29 August 2017, she crossed Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains in 11 hours 25 minutes 36 seconds to complete the California Triple Crown of Marathon Swimming (that includes the Santa Barbara Channel), Catalina Channel, and Lake Tahoe) at the age of 53.
- On 21 July 2018, she completed a 35 km crossing of the North Channel from Northern Ireland to Scotland in 15 hours 3 minutes at the age of 54.
- On 31 December 2018, she completed the 24-mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim in Tampa Bay, Florida in 11 hours 19 minutes at the age of 54 to complete the Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming in 17-18°C.
- She completed the Grand Slam of Open Water Swimming in a cumulative time of 35 hours 56 seconds.
- She was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women in 2019 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- On 19 August 2019, she completed a 19.5 km crossing of the Tsugaru Channel from Honshu to Hokkaido in northern Japan in 10 hours 11 minutes 2 seconds.
- She has completed four Oceans Seven channels: English ChannelCatalina Channel, North Channel, Tsugaru Channel.
- On 6 December 2020 in Gillson Beach, Wilmette Illinois, USA, she completed an Ice Mile ratified by the International Ice Swimming Association in 4.15°C water and 2.20°C air in 33 minutes 6 seconds, observed by Michael Bailey and witnessed by Chris Layton.
U.S. Masters Swimming Awards and Honors
o Meet results for Marcia E Cleveland (77 swims)
o Top Ten achievements (72 individual, 2 relay)
o All American Honors (9 long distance, 2 pool individual swims)
o All-Star Honors (2 long distance honors)
o USMS Awards and Recognition Received:
o 2001 U.S. Masters Swimming Dorothy Donnelly Service Award
o Oral History contribution (Jul 19, 2000) honoring G Harold (Gus) Langner
o USMS SWIMMER magazine contributions and references:
o March / April 2005 Issue: Featured in "Going the Distance"
o May / June 2010 Issue: Featured in "Out in the Open: Marcia Cleveland"
o July / August 2008 Issue: Featured in "Recently Read: "Dover Solo" (2nd Edition)"
o March / April 2006 Issue: Featured in "Hardworking Committee Goes the Distance"
o March / April 2006 Issue: Featured in "Long Distance Postal Series Roundup"
o January / February 2006 Issue: Featured in "USMS Leadership Announces New Committee Chairs"
o November / December 2005 Issue: Featured in "Three Swimmers Cross Catalina Channel Together"
o May / June 2005 Issue: Featured in "Hats Off to Hall of Famers"
o March / April 2005 Issue: Featured in "Long Distance Postal Series Results"
Review of Dover Solo
Mark Robson wrote a review of Dover Solo, Swimming The English Channel. "Whenever I am asked my opinion regarding reading matter for open water swimming, I never hesitate to recommend two of my favourite publications one of which is Dover Solo. I first read Dover Solo in 2006, whilst gathering data for open water swimming in particular that relating to the English Channel. Since which time, I have read it numerous times. For me, it is one of the first items I pack when going on a lazy holiday.
The book is well written and in such a fashion that the reader can simply grasp the details of preparing for the Everest of open water swims. Marcia covers everything from her beginnings in the sport, the history of the swim, her needs, fears and inner most thoughts as she begins to set goals on this personal journey.
Whilst the book quickly brings the difficulties of such a challenge into sharp focus, it remains clear that this is in fact just one approach to Swimming The English Channel and not the definitive answer, the reader soon learns that Marcia is a regular person with a whole host of commitments and responsibilities including a full-time occupation.
As the almost diary-like information unfolds, it becomes clear that there is to be no quick fix, she emphasises her belief that the key to potential success is acclimatise acclimatise acclimatise. One is not over burdened with details yet there is sufficient particulars regarding training camps, goals, feeding, body changes, self discipline and psychology to remind any aspirant or indeed accomplished veteran of the task ahead.
The penultimate chapter covers the actual swim in and hour-by-hour account, leaving little if anything to the imagination.
In summary if you are an average man or woman with such a dream, then this book will inspire you to train, prepare and envisage your success. It is not the only book out there but in my opinion it is certainly one of the best, and a must for any marathon swimmers bookshelf."
Marcia Cleveland at the TEDxWinnetkaWomen
31 December 2018 Tampa Bay Marathon Swim
Marathon Swim Stories
- 2020 International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Virtual Ceremonies
- The Special Race Of Rondi Davies Around Manhattan Island
- Celebrating Champions, Honoring Heroes At The Virtual Class Of 2020 IMSHOF Induction & Awards Ceremony
- Marathon Swimming Heroes In Memoriam
- Shannon House Keegan Talks Marathon Swimming Stories
- First-time Ice Milers, Winter Wonders
- International Ice Swimming Association bio
- Ice Mile data
- Liz Fry Swims Like Clockwork
- Carol Sing On Enjoying The Channels On WOWSA Live
- Professor Will Dichtel Sets Record Overnight For Chicago Skyline Swim
- Reading, Not Racing. A Library Of Open Water Swimming Books
- Marcy MacDonald Describes Her Journey On WOWSA Live
- Marcia Cleveland Talks About Balance And Focus On WOWSA Live
- Let Equality Ring, Cashing In On A College Scholarship
- The State of Female Opportunities In Sport In The U.S.
- A Possible Future For American Female Collegiate Athletic Opportunities
- Gotta Keep Your Discipline, John Muenzer And Ned Denison On WOWSA Live
- 2019 WOWSA Award Winners Announced
- Travesía Interminable Is 2019 World Open Water Swimming Offering Of The Year
- Gulf Of Finland Relay Is 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance Of The Year
- Adherbal Treidler de Oliveira Is 2019 World Open Water Swimming Man Of The Year
- Mariel Hawley Dávila Is 2019 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
- Fastest Times Of The Grand Slam Of Open Water Swimming
- Review of Dover Solo, the book
- Official Website of Dover Solo
- United States Masters Swimming awards and honors
- Chicago Skyline Swim
- Catalina Channel Swimming Federation
- Channel Swimming Association
- NYC Swim
- Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming
- Remembering The 2010 Manhattan Island Marathon Swim
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Marathon Swimming
- Open Water Swimming
- Look Behind And Below You In The Open Water
- Women Swimming Circles Around Manhattan Island
- Eric Nilsson Faces Wind, Whitecaps To Win Boston Light Swim
- Triple Crowners Showcase Their Fountain Of Youth - Age of Triple Crowners
- Triple Crown Of Open Water Swimming - Average Ages
- Swimming Around Manhattan Over The Past 100 Years
- NYC Swim
- Marathon Swimmers Federation bio
- Cleveland's Run A Clinic In The Open Water
- Hidden Figures, Not Now, Not Ever
- Always At Their Side Looking Ahead, Richard Clifford
- Achieving Success One Stroke At A Time
- Marcia Cleveland Hits A Grand Slam
- 2019 World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women