Lifelong swimmer Doug McConnell completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming this past June, swimming the waters surrounding Manhattan and across the English Channel and the Catalina Channel in Southern California. He’s one of just 102 people to finish all three swims, and only the 15th to accomplish this over the age of 50.

Along the way, his swimming has raised more than $325,000 for ALS research. McConnell lost his father to the disease in 2006, and it has been diagnosed in other family members since. He credits his fitness to his wife Susan’s healthy cooking and his 20-mile-per-week swimming regimen.

McConnell didn’t always see himself as a long-distance swimmer. He recalls a childhood visit to England’s White Cliffs of Dover, looking out over the English Channel on a bleak day. “My father told me, ‘You know, people swim across this thing,’ ” he says. “I replied, ‘You’re out of your mind!’ But it’s funny that 50 years later, I was out there myself.”

Endurance athlete Doug McConnell in ocean

McConnell counts every stroke of every swim. When he swam around Manhattan, it took him 29,611 strokes. He says it helps him stay focused on the process, not the result.