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updated: 7/30/2012 11:46 AM

Wheaton native swims English Channel

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  • Wheaton native Marian Cardwell completed her swim of the English Channel Friday after having trained for nine months.

      Wheaton native Marian Cardwell completed her swim of the English Channel Friday after having trained for nine months.
    Courtesy of Marian Cardwell


After more than 12 hours in bone-chilling water, Wheaton native Marian Cardwell arrived on the shore south of Wissant, France, Friday afternoon having accomplished her goal of swimming the English Channel.

Cardwell arrived shortly after 3 p.m. Chicago time, having set out from Dover, England, more than 12 hours earlier. The 22-year-old swimmer made the crossing to raise money for the Chicago Diabetes Project in honor of her uncle, Wally Filkin of Wheaton, who has suffered from Type 1 diabetes since he was a teenager.

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"I'm really excited for what she's been able to do. That's an unbelievable accomplishment," Filkin said from his home in Wheaton shortly after Cardwell's arrival in France.

Her aunt, Kaye Filkin of Wheaton, said they had not yet heard about the conditions of the water or the size of the waves during Cardwell's swim. The shortest distance across the channel is 21 miles, but swimmers are forced to swim in an S curve because of the currents.

Originally scheduled to start her swim between July 10 and 18, Cardwell had been delayed for days by rainy and windy weather in England creating doubt whether she would be able to make the crossing at all. She had trained for the swim for nine months while serving as an English teaching assistant in Lille, France, during the past school year.

Her parents and sister accompanied her on a boat driven by a pilot experienced in channel crossings.

Cardwell set a goal of raising $45,000 for the Chicago Diabetes Project. Her blog,, reported Friday she had raised $13,750. Those who want to contribute may donate through the website or send checks made out to the Chicago Diabetes Project with Marian Cardwell's name in the memo line to Katie Marchetti, Marketing Research Specialist, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Systems, 840 S. Wood St., Suite 502 m/c 958, Chicago, IL 60612.

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