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Local Banker To Swim English Channel For ALS Research

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English Channel map (Credit: AP)

English Channel map (Credit: AP)

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BARRINGTON, Ill. (WBBM) – A 53-year-old investment banker has been packing in the ice cream to keep up his weight for an English Channel swim later this month in honor of his late father.

Doug McConnell of Barrington plans the 21-mile swim as tribute to his father, David, and as a fundraiser for research into the disease, ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease — which killed his father.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody reports

McConnell has been training by swimming 20 miles a week in Lake Michigan and spending three hours a week in cross training at a gym.

He says he’s eating a huge amount of carbohydrates, fish and chicken to keep up both muscle mass, and some fat padding to help keep him warm in the 60 degree waters of the Channel.

McConnell’s four children will act as swim support crew on the 40-foot pilot boat escorting him across the Channel.

So far, McConnell’s plans have raised $100,000 for research through the Les Turner ALS foundation — half of it from a grant from the Medtronic corporation.

McConnell has to battle cold water, jellyfish and lots of rules from the Channel Swimming Society — which requires he never touch the support boat or crew.

McConnell will swim from England to France, because the French do not permit channel swims to start off their shores — ostensibly for safety reasons.

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