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updated: 9/1/2011 3:51 PM

Barrington man ends English Channel bid, for now

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Barrington resident Don Macdonald, 49, has officially given up his bid to swim the English Channel this year, due to uncooperative weather.

Though Macdonald knew he'd already missed his prime weather window a week ago, he'd held out hope of heading back to Dover after his family's visits to Paris and Scotland before their return home tomorrow.

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But Macdonald recently let officials at Barrington Unit District 220 know that he'd pulled the plug on the endeavor, at least for this year.

He'd planned to swim in support of the district's programs on social-emotional learning, concentrating on the need for personal resiliency. But in emails to family and friends last week, he said his disappointment over the weather situation was teaching him about personal resiliency in a different way than expected.

In a statement posted on District 220's Facebook page, Macdonald writes that he plans to try to Channel again.

"I am of course disappointed," he said. "I know in my heart I was ready and had a very good shot. I will be back but now will focus on the next big swim, my charity educational efforts of sharing the incredible story of getting here, the resilience it takes to withstand the waiting, unknown 'what if's' and then being taught a harsh lesson by mother nature, denied of the chance to even start."

Macdonald was teamed up with fellow Barrington resident Doug McConnell, 53, to try to swim from England to France.

The two men planned to swim on different days, not knowing there would be only one good day of weather during their entire weeklong window.

McConnell got the green light to start his swim a few days earlier than he expected -- and became only the 48th person over the age of 50 to ever conquer the Channel.

He swam in support of the Les Turner ALS Foundation, to honor the memory of his father who died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) five years ago. His efforts raised more than $140,000 for the foundation.

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