MARATHON SWIMMING FOR A CAUSE
In July, 2016, Doug McConnell, with the help of his A Long Swim Team, tackled Hawaii's Ka'iwi Channel, swimming between the islands of Molokai and Oahu. This is a 27+ mile marathon swim in open-ocean with steady trade winds, 15 foot swells, and lots of wildlife such as whales, dolphins, jellyfish and, lately, sharks.
With those challenges, perhaps it is no surprise that the Molokai Channel has only been successfully swum by 35 solo swimmers.
Doug McConnell, with the help of his A Long Swim Team, became only the 48th person over age 50 to swim the English Channel, in 14 hours that were divided between heavy waves and pitch black darkness.
The success of the English Channel swim has inspired the A Long Swim Team to continue with marathon swims, including the 24-mile length of Tampa Bay, the 21-mile distance of the Catalina Channel in California, and a 29-mile circumnavigation of Manhattan Island in New York City. The swims of the English Channel, the Catalina Channel and Manhattan Island make up the "Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming," of which Doug was the 89th person to complete, and only the 15th person to complete all over the age of 50.
A Long Swim has raised over $320,000 for ALS research, dedicated to the groundbreaking and collaborative research at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, one of the top ALS research laboratories in the world. On the very day that Doug finished his English Channel crossing, Northwestern made a breakthrough announcement of the discovery of the common cause of all forms of ALS, and has accelerated its pace of discoveries since then.
The success to date of A Long Swim has inspired Doug and the Team to take on the challenge of other marathon swims and to continue to bring awareness and funding to ALS research. Next up: the A Long Swim Team is planning a swim of the Ka'iwi Channel in July 2016. The Ka'iwi Channel, which is Hawaiian for "Channel of Bones" is the 27-mile stretch of ocean between Molokai and Oahu, is known for waves and swells, trade winds and hostile wildlife.
Doug’s swimming career began at a young age, as he tagged along with his older sister to the pool. He was a walk-on swimmer at the University of Illinois, and graduated as the team Captain and a two-time Most Valuable Swimmer. Doug eventually turned to open water swimming as a new way to challenge himself.
Doug is an Investment Banker. He and his wife, Susan, have been married for 30 years and have four children, aged 18 to 28. They are all key members of the A Long Swim Team, and actively help with and participate in training and competitive swims. Doug credits their love and support as the cornerstone of his foundation, without which he could never dream of undertaking “A Long Swim.”
On this website, you will find Doug’s Journal that highlights of the story of the preparation, the setbacks, the swims and the exhilaration of accomplishing such audacious goals. In addition, you will find photos and videos of the A Long Swim Team’s experiences, an opportunity to donate to A Long Swim, and examples of Doug’s inspirational presentations to corporate and civic organizations.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Nelson Mandela