RecPlex Member Channel Swim

RecPlex Member Completes Hawaii's Moloka’i Channel Swim
Posted on 09/01/2022
In late March 2022, RecPlex member Marcia Cleveland completed an approximately 27-mile open water swim across Hawaii's Moloka'i Channel, which spans Hawaii's Moloka'i and O'ahu islands. Cleveland combated water currents throughout the swim with five to 16-mile-an-hour winds and five to eight-foot-high waves. She crossed the channel swim in 17 hours and 45 minutes. Cleveland originally planned her channel swim in 2020; however, the pandemic delayed her timeline.

During the pandemic area lockdowns in Illinois restricted pool space and limited Cleveland’s ability to train in the area. The limitations led her to begin training at Pleasant Prairie RecPlex. To prepare for the Moloka’i Channel Swim, she regularly drove 40 miles from her home in northern Illinois to train in the Olympic-size pool at RecPlex. As part of the training program to prepare for the Moloka’i Channel swim, Cleveland swam 153 miles at RecPlex between December 2021 and mid-March 2022. 

Cleveland knew she would be swimming through the night in the Pacific Ocean with just a kayaker next to her and needed to learn how to thrive in isolation mentally. Her time at RecPlex allowed her space to hone her focus and swim alone. RecPlex has a family waterpark pool area and a 10-lane, 50-meter pool, which is often bisected at mid-pool to create 25-yard courses and 20 lanes. The significant number of swimming areas, combined with the limited number of swimmers on site when Cleveland trained, provided a sense of solitude and helped condition herself for the Pacific Ocean swim.

She trained between two and a half and four hours three days a week to build a solid foundation for the Moloka'i Channel swim. Her training included dryland exercises, where she practiced strength, endurance, and flexibility techniques on the swim deck at RecPlex. She adopted these dryland exercises during the pandemic, which she found stimulating, and continued the routine. Most of her workouts at RecPlex began with an hour or longer straight swim to simulate the first leg of the Moloka'i Channel. Then she would follow up with half-hour sets to learn how long 30 minutes felt like while swimming at a faster pace. Cleveland explained, "I always love swimming at Pleasant Prairie RecPlex. Being able to train there for my Moloka'i swim in the conditions I set up for myself made the difference for me in having a successful swim." 

Readers can learn more about Cleveland online here, where she has written extensively on various swimming topics, including detailed information for training and completing the Moloka’i Channel swim.
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