By Phil Dailey
When Anne Cleveland was a little girl growing up in La Jolla Shores, her favorite pastime was to swim past the surf line and enjoy the peace and solitude of the ocean.
That was nearly 50 years ago. A lot has change since then.
“Of course that was when the hill above the shore where UCSD is didn’t have any houses on it,” said Cleveland. “It looked a lot different then.”
The La Jollan native will be honored June 19 at the United Nations building in New York City as the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inducts its class of 2010.
“It’s really a special honor,” Cleveland said. “Just over 100 swimmers have been inducted since 1960 or so. And to be one of those swimmers is just amazing to me.”
Cleveland’s accomplishments in the swim community runs deep.
After being pulled from the water in her first channel swim attempt at the age of 43 in the Catalina Channel, Cleveland came back from that disappointment in victorious fashion.
She has crossed the Maui Channel (4:09 in 2000 and 5:22 in 2001), the Catalina Channel Normal (10:15 in 2001), the English Channel (12:32 in 2002, a two-way in 28:36 in 2004 and 11:33 in 2007) and the Pacific Swim 10K in Fiji (2:41 in 2008). She became the oldest person, at the age of 48, to make a two-way crossing of the English Channel for which she received the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation Award for the Most Meritorious Swim by a Woman. She has also participated in a two-way Catalina Channel relay (2000), a one-way Catalina Channel relay (2003), a 52°F (11°C) relay swim in the Haro Straits in Canada, and relay swims in San Diego. Cleveland served as president of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club (2001-2002), as a volunteer Observer for the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation and served as an Official Observer on English Channel swims in 2002 and 2004.
Cleveland doesn’t have any plans for any major swims in the upcoming future, but has been coaching others as well as being an assistant coach for the La Jolla High (her alma mater) swim teams.
“The real takeaway from this sport isn’t what you do, it’s what you give back,” Cleveland. “It’s what you’re able to do for other people.”
Cleveland is also teaching yoga to swimmers in La Jolla. Anyone interested can find more information on her website at
In the meantime, at least when the sun is shining bright, Cleveland can be found at her favorite spot just beyond the surf where she swam as a child.
“Once again I’m enjoying the peace and solitude of the same ocean and the same little La Jolla bay that I swam in 50 years ago.”