Marcy MacDonald, ISHOF Honoree, Completes 17th Crossing of English Channel

Marcy MacDonald was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2019. Photo Courtesy: Marcy MacDonald

2019 ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer, Marcy MacDonald completed her 17th crossing of the English Channel on Saturday, July 6th, 2019, on the 25th anniversary of her very first crossing. MacDonald wrote this to family, friends and supporters after her swim:

“Greetings from Dover! I am enjoying a day by the sea with a few muscle aches after yesterday. I’m over the multiple jellyfish zaps but I am happy to say I will be able to swim another day. The next stop is in Bridgeport, CT for the Swim Across the Sound. I’ll be doing a 2-person relay with my childhood team mate, Geoffrey Michaud. Both of us grew up on the Manchester Rec Swim team.

Thank you for all your kind words of encouragement and congratulations messages. The English Channel is never an easy swim, and I had to pull out a multitude of tricks from my experience vault and prayers to get through it. I was a hurting puppy.

Yesterday, the planets were aligned perfectly and the Greek Gods Aeolus, the keeper of the winds, were smiling down on us. Poseidon may not have seen I was in the sea (experiences from the past).  We had fantastic conditions and landed under the cliffs of Cape Gris Nez, France at 12 hours, 34 minutes. It was a pretty good time for a senior swimmer on the high spring tide…even though it felt like 15 hours.

This is a team event. I owe many thanks to my team: Janet keeps me fed and looks over me. She tries to keep me entertained, or at least smiling, through the tough patches. Dave Chisholm was my ‘go to man’ for pictures, heating water and a safety escort to the rocks. I had the pleasure to be his observer and escort to the beach on his crossing in 2008 so this was special to me.

Then there is the boat team, which is so important. It certainly takes a special breed of person with patience to guide a swimmer across the Straits. My pilot, Michael Oram, plotted out a perfect course for me to reach my original Boulder that I landed at 25 years ago. I just wasn’t strong enough to get past the Cape, so that is why we landed on the north side of the Cape (the tide had changed and blew me north.)

Tanya Harding and Mike Ball sat patiently at the wheel, watching and guiding me safely across Le Manche for a 17th time. I owe them a big thank you. My advice to all the aspiring swimmers is: be patient. You will get there. The discomfort, even misery, will be temporary and 24 hours later, you will probably forget all about those parts and remember the success!”

Marcy MacDonald’s Hall of Fame Induction

Marcy MacDonald was induced into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an honor open water swimmer earlier this year.

She has completed many impressive open water swims that go on for many miles.

This past September, MacDonald even attempted the 52-mile swim from the UK to Belgium in St. Margaret’s Bay, something no man or woman has ever completed. After 15 hours, an injury to her left shoulder forced her to stop at a beach north of France.

In addition to her open water swimming accomplishments, Dr. Marcella MacDonald is a Podiatrist who operates her own practice in Manchester, Connecticut. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching at the Laurel East Hartford YMCA and gives talks about her exciting adventures and open water swims.

The International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inducted MacDonald in 2005. She was also named the Woman of the Year in 2011 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Thomas A. Small
4 years ago


Courtney Andrews
4 years ago


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x