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Charging the Channel for a Good Cause

Maggie Regan ’14 looked into the pitch-black English Channel, took a deep breath, and jumped in.

“Mostly,” she says, “I tried not to freak out.”


The six-person team—crossing the channel to raise money to fight childhood cancer in September—had been swimming, one by one, since 1:55 a.m. The dark water was still freezing when Regan started her first of two hourlong swims just shy of 5 a.m.

That was the hardest part of the journey, and after she got out of the water, she dreaded the thought of getting back in. So she tapped a trick she’d perfected with her teammates on the Swarthmore swim team.

“I was tired, cold and achy, but I turned on my pump-up songs and danced my butt off on the boat between my swims,” laughs Regan.

A math and physics grad, Regan is pursuing an applied math Ph.D. at Notre Dame. Today, she swims as an antidote to her academic pursuits.

“I can relax my mind while pushing myself physically,” she says. “I’ve been swimming and racing for so long that it’s all intuitive.”

Twelve hours and 29 minutes after beginning, Regan’s team reached land on the channel’s French side. As for the dance party? It worked.

“I was cruising on my second swim,” she says. “I felt like I could keep going forever.”