Freestyle analyst

Sep 20, 2009 @ 12:01 am

By Sue Asci

Being an investment research analyst during one of the most historic economic downturns can be stressful.

But having faced the physical and mental challenges of open-ocean swimming, 29-year-old Jeffrey Cleveland says he can keep things in perspective.

Mr. Cleveland, a municipal bond analyst at Payden & Rygel Investment Management, was a swimmer long before he joined the firm as an economist in 2006. He said his mother introduced him to the YMCA pool when he was 6 months old.

Last year, Mr. Cleveland completed the 21-mile swim across the English Channel in 10 hours, facing hypothermia in the 61-degree water, jellyfish, dehydration and exhaustion. He also got seasick.

Only about 1,000 people have completed the swim since 1875.

The sport has taught him perseverance.

“You see that you can overcome monumental tasks,” Mr. Cleveland said. “I like the physical and mental challenge of it.”

On Thursday, Mr. Cleveland plans to swim across the Catalina Channel in California.

The 18-mile swim is expected to take 10 to 12 hours and is done at night to avoid boat traffic and strong winds.

“I'll be out in the middle of the ocean in close to pitch-black conditions,” he said.

Mr. Cleveland plans to complete a 28-mile swim around Manhattan next June.

“All three of those swims are considered the Triple Crown,” he said. “Fewer than 40 people have done all three.”

The working and swimming worlds can be similar, Mr. Cleveland said.

“You never know what you are going to face, and you have to be prepared for any possibility,” he said.

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