Doug McConnell is a successful investment banker and has spent a career setting and achieving some pretty lofty business goals.  He took many of those business lessons and applied them to another outrageous goal; swimming the English Channel. Unlike the business goals, he had no idea how to achieve it, but applied the same processes of methodocal steps he had learned as an investment banker to a whole new kind of project.  Swimming the English Channel worked so well, the A Long Swim team continued to set goals and take on other, equally unimaginable marathon swimming challenges.  

Doug tells a gripping story of how, in the two years leading up to A Long Swim, he assembled and trained a team to achieve that goal.  In the process, Doug employed some powerful principles that apply to every successful businessperson and athlete:

  • Building and buying into a vision
  • Planning for the far shore
  • Putting your life in hands of your team
  • Endurance and grit
  • Being afraid in the dark 
  • Everyone swims with sharks
  • Setbacks and surprises
  • Achieving and celebrating success
  • Enjoying the humor along the way


Doug shares a unique example of how an effective team (his team was not the MBA's of open water swimming) can deliver something bigger than the sum of its individual parts, and how to guard against team dysfunction.  He will also reveal how a cornerstone of the overall goal was the effort to support a bigger cause: to raise money for research on ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and from which A Long Swim borrowed its name.

Through story-telling and anecdotes, Doug will take the audience through elements of all of the Triple Crown swims.  They will:

  • Shiver when they hear about 62º water
  • Cringe watching five-foot waves wash over him
  • Marvel at the discipline required to count 40,538 strokes
  • Hope (as he did) that they won’t encounter stinging jellyfish
  • Reflect on swims lasting 10, 12 or 14 hours

The audience will take away three important lessons that can be applied to every business or athletic setting:

  • How to take advantage of the “Arrogance of Ignorance”
  • How to maximize their “R.O.L.:” (Return on Luck)
  • How to create and sustain a team culture in which every member shares the goal of “The Speedo Guy”

Invite Doug to speak as the keynote at your next corporate function or annual meeting.  It is a riveting story unlike any the people in your organization have ever heard.  


“Doug’s message of assembling a team and achieving inspiring success will resonate with every business audience.”
John LaSage, Central Region Chairman, Burson Marsteller Public Relations. 

“In my business, the team is ever important.  When a team works effectively, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  Doug’s inspirational story of how he attained success with his team is simply amazing.”
Russ Campion, Client Development Director, William Blair & Company. 

“One word that describes Doug is ‘achievement.’ I have been a teammate of his since collegiate swimming 35 years ago.  I have been honored to be a member of ‘A Long Swim’ team and help Doug and his family achieve every goal they set.”
David Bishop, Senior Relationship Manager, Fifth Third Bank Wealth Management. 


 Doug McConnell speaks at the Annual Sales Meeting for Medtronic, Inc. 

Doug McConnell speaks at the Annual Sales Meeting for Medtronic, Inc.