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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tiffany McQueen Swims In Beautiful Places With Fun People

Tiffany McQueen Make A Champ from Tiffany McQueen on Vimeo.

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Tiffany McQueen was busy in 2016. She completed 29 open water swims in 2016:

1. January 29th-30th: 24 Hour Swim Relay in San Francisco
2. April 3rd: 7-mile Swim Around Lido Key in 5 hours 33 minutes
3. April 27th: 9.5-mile S.C.A.R. Saguaro Lake in 5 hours 10 minutes
4. April 28th: 9-mile S.C.A.R. Canyon Lake 5 hours 35 minutes
5. April 29th: 8.1-mile S.C.A.R. Apache Lake (DNF) 5 hours 45 minutes
6. April 30th: 3.8-mile S.C.A.R. Roosevelt Lake (DNF) 1 hour 59 minutes
7. May 22nd: 2 x 1-mile H2Open SoCal Cup 2 x 31 minutes
8. May 22nd: 500m H2Open SoCal Cup 9 minutes 43 seconds
9. Wharf-2-Wharf-2-Wharf fun swim
10. May 28th: 6.2-mile Capitola to Santa Cruz 4 hours 15 minutes
11. May 29th: 6.2-mile Santa Cruz to Capitola 4 hours 5 minutes
12. July 2nd: 3-mile and 1-mile Seal Beach Rough Water Swims 2 hours 25 minutes
13. July 9th: 11-mile Portland Bridge Swim 6 hours 18 minutes
14. August 6th: 11-mile Great Moose Migration Swim 7 hours 47 minutes
15. August 13th: Swim the Kingdom Week 5-mile Crystal Lake 2 hours 56 minutes
16. August 14th: Swim the Kingdom Week 4-mile Island Pond 2 hours 36 minutes
17. August 15th: Swim the Kingdom Week 7.5-mile Echo Lake 4 hours 55 minutes
18. August 16th: Swim the Kingdom Week 6.27-mile Lake Seymour 4 hours 27 minutes
19. August 17th: Swim the Kingdom Week 9.5-mile Lake Massawippi 6 hours 12 minutes
20. August 18th: Swim the Kingdom Week 6.2-mile Lake Memphremagog 4 hours 33 minutes
21. August 20th: Swim the Kingdom Week 5.19-mile Lake Willoughby 2 hours 51 minutes
22. August 21st: Swim the Kingdom Week 3.1-mile Caspian Lake 2 hours 4 minutes
23. August 28th: 6.2-mile Santa Cruz Pier-to-Pier 4 hours 13 minutes
24. September 25th: La Jolla Cove 10 Mile Relay (solo) 6 hours 18 minutes
25. October 9th: 10-mile Swim The Suck 5 hours 46 minutes
26. October 30th: 1.25-mile Escape from Alcatraz (California Swim Tour) not timed
27. October 31st: 1.3-mile Golden Gate Bridge Swim (California Swim Tour) 47 minutes 39 seconds
28. November 3rd: 12.5-mile Anacapa – Oxnard crossing 10 hours 9 minutes
29. December 7th: 11.9-mile Swim Around Coronado Island 7 hours 30 minutes

She tells of her story of traveling across the United States:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How did you space out so many open water swims in 2016?

Tiffany McQueen: I signed up for every swim that I could fit into my work schedule and budget, and tried to include some swims in new places on the West Coast [of America]. Knowing that I would be moving in 2017, I wanted to do as many west coast swims as possible in 2016.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your motivation to do so many open water swims?

Tiffany McQueen: I love swimming. I especially love swimming in beautiful places with fun people. I love the people that I have met along the way and love meeting new people who also love to swim in beautiful places with fun people. I would like to complete a swim in every State of the United States, and swim in as many countries as possible. I use swimming as an excuse to travel to places that I haven't been before, and to return to places that I absolutely love (like Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Tonto National Forest in Arizona, to name just a few). I also love that marathon swimming is a sport that I can do with my husband and best friend, John McQueen, by my side as my kayak support and swim captain.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your most difficult open water swim to date?open water swim to date?

Tiffany McQueen: The most difficult was the Anacapa to Oxnard crossing. Swimming in the dark of night freaked me out and this was my longest swim to date.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your most unique open water swim to date?

Tiffany McQueen: The most unique was swimming in the "ice hole" in Lake Memphremagog a couple weeks ago during the Memphremagog Winter Swimming Festival. This was my first time walking on a frozen lake and my first time swimming in a pool cut out of a frozen lake, which is a unique challenge that was surprisingly and incredibly fun. I signed up for all events except the butterfly, but ended swimming all eight events, including the butterfly, which I don't really know how to do properly, being a (mostly) self-trained, self-taught, adult-onset swimmer.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was your most enjoyable open water swim to date?

Tiffany McQueen: The most enjoyable was the Swim the Kingdom Week – No Lanes, No Lines, No Limits; and no stress, no pressure. Just wake up, eat, swim, eat, and repeat in the beautiful, pristine lakes of the Northeast Kingdom.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you do this every year - or was 2016 unique?

Tiffany McQueen: 2016 was unique in that I didn't intend to do so many swims and I have never done so many swims before. I can only explain it as a result of my life circumstances. A long story follows:

I started swimming with my local swim club (Maryland Suburban Swim Club) when I moved to Maryland in August 2012. I read about marathon swimming, and discovered that there is a Tampa Bay Marathon Swim. Having spent many days of my teen years on the beach of the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Clearwater, Florida just hanging out and drinking beer before deciding that I needed to get a job and joined the Army, there was no doubt in my mind that I had to swim across Tampa Bay some day. I looked into marathon swimming, and having never done an open water swim before, I told my husband, John, to buy a kayak because we were going to Swim Around Key West in June 2013. I signed up for some short open water swims and read the book, Open Water Swimming to prepare, and off we went to Key West. I realized during my preparation swims that I was a slower swimmer, so upon picking up my registration packet the night before the Swim Around Key West, I switched to the Solo with Fins category. We managed to finish this swim, and I continued to swim that summer and fall.

My 2013 inaugural open water swim season consisted of the following swims:

1. May 12th: 1-mile Centennial Lake One Mile Swim 34 minutes 44 seconds
2. May 26th: 1-mile Jim McDonnell Lake Swim 32 minutes 24 seconds
3. May 26th: 2-mile Jim McDonnell Lake Swim 1 hour 12 minutes 17 seconds
4. June 1st: 5 km 2 Bridges Swim Under the Walkway 1 hour 56 minutes
5. June 9th: 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 3 hours 8 minutes
6. June 22nd: 12.5-mile FKCC Swim Around Key West (solo with fins) 7 hours 30 minutes
7. July 13th: 5-mile Maryland Swim for Life 2 hours 48 minutes
8. July 28th: 5 km Virginia Beach Ocean Swim 1 hour 25 minutes
9. August 4th: 2.4-mile HarborFest Open Water Swim 1 hour 26 minutes
10. August 24th: 2.5 km Lake George Open Water Swim 54 minutes 32 seconds
11. August 25th: 4-mile Lake George Open Water Swim 2 hours 25 minutes
12. September 15th: 10 km Swim for the Potomac DNF in 3 hours 7 minutes
13. September 21st: 2.4-mile ChesapeakeMan SwimFest 1 hour 24 minutes
14. October 6th: 5-mile Peluso To the Bridge And Back

My pool in Maryland closed for four months for maintenance from January to April 2014 and my work schedule became hectic. I received orders to transfer to Fort Irwin, California which is in the middle of the Mojave Desert where places to swim are few and far between. We have too many pets to live in the housing on the Army base where the only swimming pool for 70 miles is located. Luckily, we found a house on a little man-made lake so I could swim. Unfortunately this house is 60 miles from Fort Irwin and the pool. And the pool is only open from Monday to Friday from 6 am to 2 pm, and many days I have to travel for work so can't swim. Longing to swim, I started signing up for events so that I could get my swim fix.

In 2015, my second open water season consisted of the following swims:

1. January 3rd: 1.3-mile Winter Alcatraz 38 minutes 28 seconds
2. April 12th: 7-mile Swim Around Lido Key 4 hours 0 minutes 51 seconds
3. May 6th: 9.5-mile S.C.A.R. Saguaro Lake 5 hours 4 minutes
4. May 7th: 9-mile S.C.A.R. Canyon Lake 5 hours 2 minutes
5. May 8th: 6.5 miles of 17-mile S.C.A.R. Apache Lake DNF in 4 hours 49 minutes
6. May 9th: 6-mile S.C.A.R. Roosevelt Lake 4 hours 17 minutes
7. May 17th: 1-mile H2Open SoCal Cup 29 minutes 57 seconds
8. May 17th: 500m H2Open SoCal Cup 9 minutes 6 seconds
9. May 17th: 2-mile H2Open SoCal Cup 1 hour 2 minutes
10. June 13th: 3-mile Seal Beach Rough Water Swims 1 hour 30 minutes
11. June 20th: 1.5-mile Pier-to-Cove Swim 54 minutes 25 seconds
12. July 5th: 6-mile Santa Barbara Ocean Swim 3 hours 16 minutes
13. July 11th: 2-mile Newport Pier-2-Pier 1 hour 6 minutes
14. July 25th: 3.7-mile Swim Around the Rock 1 hour 51 minutes
15. August 8th: Swim the Kingdom Week 5-mile Crystal Lake 2 hours 59 minutes
16. August 9th: Swim the Kingdom Week 3.73-mile Island Pond 2 hours 9 minutes
17. August 10th: Swim the Kingdom Week 7.5-mile Echo Lake 4 hours 20 minutes
18. August 11th: Swim the Kingdom Week 6.27-mile Lake Seymour 3 hours 59 minutes
19. August 12th: Swim the Kingdom Week 9.5-mile Lake Massawippi 5 hours 36 minutes
20. August 13th: Swim the Kingdom Week 6.42-mile Lake Memphremagog 3 hours 58 minutes
21. August 15th: Swim the Kingdom Week 5.16-mile Lake Willoughby 2 hours 55 minutes
22. August 16th: Swim the Kingdom Week 3.1-mile Caspian Lake 1 hour 44 minutes
23. September 27th: La Jolla Cove 10 Mile Relay (Solo) 5 hours 20 minutes
24. October 31st: 1-mile + 3-mile + 5-mile Champion of Champions, San Francisco

I had so much fun in 2015 and met so many wonderful people in 2015 that I wanted to do as many swims as possible on the West Coast, since I am due to move again in the summer of 2017. Unfortunately, the pool at Fort Irwin closed from January to June 2016 for renovations, so my husband bought a small pool to set up in the garage for me to use as a training tank, since our little lake is too cold (47°F-50°F) to practice any distance swimming in the winter. I discovered that I am susceptible to swimmer’s itch as the water warms in spring.

Being largely deprived of a place to swim and people to swim with, I swam as many events as my schedule and budget would allow in 2016 in order to maximize my “Event-Based Training” plan, which consisted of the swims listed above:


I am excited to be moving to the Philadelphia area in June 2017 and am looking forward to having the opportunity to have access to swimming pools for some proper training, with a coach and people to swim with, so that I can improve my stroke and speed and take my swimming goals up a notch. I have the following swims planned so far for 2017:

1. April 11th: Apolima Strait (Upolu to Savai’i) Samoa [see video above]
2. April 26th: 9.5-mile S.C.A.R. Saguaro Lake
3. April 27th: 9-mile S.C.A.R. Canyon Lake
4. April 28th: 17-mile S.C.A.R. Apache Lake
5. April 29th: 6-mile S.C.A.R. Roosevelt Lake
6. July 15th: 9-mile Swim Ocean City
7. July 29th: 15 km Border Buster
8. August 5th: 8-mile Boston Light Swim
9. August 12th: Swim the Kingdom Week 5-mile Crystal Lake
10. August 13th: Swim the Kingdom Week 3.73-mile Island Pond
11. August 14th: Swim the Kingdom Week 7.5-mile Echo Lake
12. August 15th: Swim the Kingdom Week 6.27-mile Lake Seymour
13. August 16th: Swim the Kingdom Week 9.5-mile Lake Massawippi
14. August 17th: Swim the Kingdom Week 6.42-mile Lake Memphremagog
15. August 18th: Swim the Kingdom Week 5.16-mile Lake Willoughby
16. August 19th: Swim the Kingdom Week 3.1-mile Caspian Lake
17. September 1st: Charles Bender Memorial Marathon Swim
18. September 17th: 10 km Spuyten Duyvil
19. September 23rd: Three Rivers Marathon Swim – tentative
20. October 14th: 10-mile Swim The Suck

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