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Profile: Cindy Walsh, swimmer

Don Norcross

Posted online: Friday, 18 July 2008

Background: Walsh, 45, grew up in Connecticut and competed for a local synchronized swimming team from 10 to 17. The team once appeared on ABC's "Wide World of Sports." She has been swimming regularly since she was 30 for fitness purposes. After having participated regularly in the Tour of Buoys five-mile race off La Jolla, Walsh stepped up to the marathon distance last summer. The Bay Park resident became the 136th person since 1927 to officially swim across the Catalina Channel, which measures 21 miles point to point. On July 5, Walsh stepped up in distance, completing the 28-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. She finished in an even 8 hours, placing 11th overall out of 23 men and women.

Working world: Walsh is the manager of cardiovascular service at Sharp Memorial Hospital. She's also a part-time lecturer at San Diego State.

Quotable: As to the obvious question – Why does she like swimming long? – Walsh said, "What I love about it is the peace and tranquillity. I work in a real stressful job. It's a way to escape pagers, cell phones and e-mails."

Murky water "The Manhattan Island Marathon Swim, which encompasses the Hudson, East and Harlem rivers, is infamous for its Debris-filled water. Walsh spotted a dead pigeon, "every kind of bottle you could think of, every kind of ball and balloons." Added Walsh, "There were several (newspaper) articles beforehand about bodies and whale carcasses. I know they could have been there, but you couldn't see through the water."

Faves file: Walsh's favorite TV program: “House;” favorite author: Patricia Cornwell; favorite movie: “Shawshank Redemption.” On 'Shawshank:' “I think (Tim Robbins' character) is able to make the best of a bad situation. Secondly, I'd say it shows sheer will and determination. His getting out (of prison) was unbelievable.”

Giving back: As part of her Manhattan Island Marathon Swim goal, Walsh raised $4,000 in donations for ARTS (A Reason to Survive), which offers free art programs to at-risk children.

- The Union Tribune