Testimonials

“The English Channel” 2016

ryanutsumiec2016Anne is a fabulous coach and mentor.  Her knowledge of open water swimming, gained through her own remarkable accomplishments and expansive network within the open water swimming community, makes her a wonderful partner for swimmers seeking guidance.

Throughout my English Channel crossing journey, Anne was instrumental in preparing me both physically, through her thoughtful and customized training schedule, and mentally, through her unwavering support and counsel.  I couldn’t have done it without her.
Ryan Utsumi
English Channel
— Sept 26, 2016 — 11 hours

“20 Bridges” Swim Around Manhattan 2016marty-munson

If you want to get to the starting line prepared and the finish line proud, choose Anne Cleveland as your coach.

Not only does she help you systematically build the strength and skills you need to accomplish your goals, she helps you with the essential details of open-water swimming (including feeding and acclimatization), and talks you down when your mind gets ahead of you. Thanks to her, I had more interesting, successful swims this year—culminating in the inaugural 20 Bridges swim — than I ever knew I could. — Marty Munson, successful finisher in the inaugural “20 Bridges Swim” — August 15, 2016

“The English Channel” 2014

GreggB-WhiteHorsehi anne,

just returned home from dover and wanted to drop you a line. the week since my swim has given me an opportunity to reflect on the past six months you have coached me. and, in all honesty, i am both amazed and grateful. i came to you after my q-swim left me with more doubts than confidence i could do the channel. i knew in my heart i didn’t have a training plan or the knowledge to go it alone. from february until about two hours before my swim, you truly molded me from a middle-aged, lap swimmer into a ‘channel swimmer.’ you were candid about my weaknesses and positive about my strengths. and you made me work on both. your credibility as a swimmer first, always gave me the confidence that you understood the difficult training times needed to get me positioned to be successful. in retrospect, ours was a very simple relationship; you spoke and i did. all of my anxieties and insecurities about training instantly vanished because those became ‘your problems!’ i just had the simple task of doing what you told me. after my swim, when andy said ‘he made the swim look so easy… in not such nice conditions.’ well, i think the adjective amazing probably short changes your efforts and results!

i am also grateful to you because you believed in me. when i didn’t. the amount of training strained other areas of my life. your approach allowed me balance and kept swimming in perspective to more important matters like family, home life and work. when i ran into conflicts, you unfailingly supported my decision to skip a workout. you always understood ‘my’ big picture and didn’t superimpose your coaching goals onto my life. your experience, positive reinforcement, prompt communications, nurturing personality, became my go-to source for everything ec. and yet, literally, in those last hours before heading to the harbor, you made me own my swim. you had coached me to that point, instilled confidence, given me the technical points. but at 2am dover time, you told me ‘gregg, it’s your swim, how bad do you want it? do not quit due to the pain or nausea, they’ll subside. just keep swimming. never quit. when you reach french soil, it will be soooooo worth it, trust me!’ i kept repeating your words driving to the boat. you had done everything for me up to that point, it was now up to me. you had coached, it was now time for me to swim. for all of the work, the effort, the tiredness, the costs, everything, it was now on me. and i appreciated that responsibility. i think few people line up at the beach ‘knowing’ they’ll finish;  i’m grateful to you for that feeling.

when i was standing on a chair, about finished at white horse, i looked down at kindra and said something. she nodded. then i wrote ‘Thanks Anne!!!’ Just two words. But on those walls, they mean a hundred examples of how you helped me swim to france. i would never have made it without you.

thanks again, gregg
Gregg Bolsinger
English Channel
— July 22, 2014 — 11 hours 22 minutes
English Channel — September 7, 2015 — 10 hours 32 minutes — Fastest American, Channel Swimming Association

“The Pro’s”

“When I was accepted into my first professional marathon swim in Argentina, I asked Anne to accompany me as my coach. She went above and beyond what I asked her to do, and my third place finish and spot on the podium was in part due to her expert advice. Not only did Anne help me develop my strategy for feeding, pacing, and navigation, but she also offered me the emotional support and psychological coaching that I desperately needed in such a high-pressure situation. Even if Anne is not available to attend as my coach for every race, I still ask her to advise and consult with my other coaches and support crew.” —Mallory Mead, Professional Marathon Swimmer

“Anne is the queen of open water swimming and she disproves the often used saying, “those that can’t do, teach.”  Not only is Anne an incredibly accomplished open water swimmer, she is also one of the most positive, engaging and knowledgeable open water coaches I have ever had the chance to work with.  I will always be grateful to Anne for sharing her insight on the “zen” of open water swimming with me and for the tremendous assistance she provided as the official observer during my successful Catalina Channel swim.” —Todd Robinson, men’s world record holder – Catalina to Mainland – 8 hours 5 minutes

“Anne convinced me that a Catalina channel crossing was possible and told me exactly how to prepare for it.  Not only did I complete the swim, but I posted the 4th fastest men’s time in history and felt great doing it!!  If you want to succeed at open water swimming, don’t dare enter the dark, deep waters without Anne by your side!  She’s awesome.” —Blair Cannon, fastest Catalina Channel swim of 2011 – 8 hours 18 minutes

“I have had a number of coaches through water polo and swimming, from junior high to college.
Anne is the most complete coach I have ever had as she helped me prepare both physically and mentally for the task at hand, my swim across the Catalina Channel.  This comprehensive approach comes from her countless accomplishments as an elite swimmer.
She helped me in the months leading up to the swim and was also present for the crossing itself – boy did I luck out!  You will be hard pressed to find a more optimistic and outgoing person than Anne.  Her words of encouragement and unwavering belief in me helped me push through my journey.  I cannot thank you enough Anne!” —Derrick Wong, 2nd fastest Catalina Channel swim of 2011 – 8 hours 35 minutes

“The first time I met Anne Cleveland was during my attempt to break the “World Record for Oldest Woman” to swim the Catalina Channel.   She was instrumental in my success.  Her dedication and passion for open water swimming was evident in my Catalina crossing.  She gave me confidence and boosted my morale during some very challenging moments in the Channel.   I am grateful to Anne for her determination to see a swimmer succeed in their goals.  She is truly an amazing person and coach.  Thank you, Anne.” —Pat Gallant-Charette, age 60.  World Record Holder: Oldest Woman to swim the Catalina Channel

“Having successfully competed several 5 mile swims, in 2010 I decided to attempt the Maui Channel.  I did very well, but I made some rookie mistakes.  While I put in my training miles in La Jolla Cove and at the pool, I almost missed out on a key (possibly THE key) to successful marathon swimming:  Nutrition.  About two weeks before the race, I started asking some of my fellow open water swimmers what they liked to use.  The typical response was a less than encouraging, “Oh my gosh, I can believe you haven’t been practicing your feeds.  You should have started a long time ago. Without having the practice there’s a big chance that you will not be able to complete the race.”  Then, I called the one and only Anne Cleveland.  Anticipating the possibility of another reprimand, I was SO happy to finally get not only good nutritional information but also get the information with nothing but support and encouragement.  Aside from her vast technical knowledge on how to successfully complete an open water swim,  Anne Cleveland simply does not have a negative bone in her body.  She is the epitome of what it means to be a supportive coach.  She does not dwell on what could have been better, but rather motivates swimmers with her positive outlook and general “good vibes” that she constantly emits.  Despite not being the most prepared I could have been, thanks to Anne’s advice on feedings (side-note: her suggestion to put Maxim in my pre-race coffee was nothing short of pure genius) and her calm and encouraging demeanor, I had a great race.  When I called Anne to let her know that I had actually won, she cheered so loud and enthusiastically that you would have thought I just broke a world record while winning the lottery. Anne makes every swimmer that she works with feel like they are an absolute super star. It does not matter if you need help with your first one mile ocean swim or are going for a double channel crossing…Anne is simply the best the best coach you could ask for!
Bottom line, I will never take part in an open water race without having Anne Cleveland on my team!” —Elizabeth Schlicher, 1st Place Overall Finisher – 2010 Maui Channel Solo Swim

“The Big Fish”

“Anne has been a tremendous help in individualizing my long distance open water training programs to my age and swimming background.  Her support in open water swimming nutrition has been invaluable.  Although I swim on a masters swim team with “pool coaches” she has been available to address all my challenges in marathon swimming with great input and suggestions” — Ann von Spiegelfeld,  51,  Tampa Florida
**24-mile Tampa Bay Marathon Swim 2013 – Ann was one of 6 finishers in a field of 18 solo starters. Very rough conditions in the bay that day. Well done, Ann!

“I was looking for advice from an expert in order to prepare for a long distance swim when I came across Anne Cleveland’s name several times during an internet search.  I reached out to her by email and was delighted to receive an immediate response!  I knew right away that I would benefit from Anne’s knowledge and expertise and she assured me even though I live in Houston she could coach me.
Initially Anne wrote up a personalized framework training plan; however, I soon decided to have her write monthly workouts.  In addition, Anne offered guidance in areas I hadn’t even thought about, but were just as important as my training.  She gave recommendations about sunscreen products and chafing, breathing in swells, what to expect when swimming in salt water for an extended period as well as information about nutrition, stretching and stroke technique.  Beyond that, Anne helped me remain positive when weather forced the cancellation of a race, when injury set me back and when I came to the realization that life’s challenges would keep me from participating in the long distance swim I had been planning for almost a year.  She gently reminded me “it is best to enjoy the swim, not endure it.”   All of these factors, along with Anne’s positive energy and attitude are what make her an excellent coach and mentor.”  —Jennifer Smart, Houston Texas