NewsLocal News


Marathon swimmer completes 24-mile swim across Tampa Bay

Marathon swimmer finishes grueling swim
Posted at 8:06 PM, Dec 31, 2018
and last updated 2019-01-01 01:22:36-05

TAMPA, Fla. — From sunrise to sunset the 24-mile swim completed by Marcia Cleveland was grueling.

The water temperature was 68 degrees when Cleveland launched into Tampa Bay near the Sunshine Skyway. Cleveland says the first hours of the swim were difficult as she fought a two-foot chop.

“I just kept moving forward I wanted to finish,” Cleveland said. “I wanted to land on this beach it’s nice to feel the sand on your feet.”

Cleveland said she kept her head down and just kept swimming. She never thought about giving up despite getting an ache in her right shoulder. A Facebook live video shows her crew asking her if she wants to get out of the water. She said no.

On the last day of 2018, Cleveland has this advice for anyone starting a New Year’s resolution.

“It doesn’t have to be a big goal. Persistence is all, keep going,” Cleveland said.

When the clock strikes midnight Cleveland will probably be ringing in the New Year in bed.

“Probably asleep,” Cleveland said. “I don’t think we’ll be doing any wild partying, just yet.”

According to Cleveland’s biography, she is a 54-year-old American open water swimmer from Winnetka, Illinois. She completed the fastest Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming in history with a cumulative time of 24 hours 38 minutes 3 seconds (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).