TAMPA BAY — An Illinois woman is preparing to conquer one of the world's longest swims — 24 miles straight across Tampa Bay. 

  • Marcia Cleveland, 54, a 27-year veteran marathon swimmer
  • Previous distance swims include Lake Tahoe, English Channel
  • Swim to begin at 6 a.m. Monday in St. Pete
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Marcia Cleveland, 54, is a top marathon swimmer and now is looking to check Tampa Bay off her list. 

"As you get older, you get wiser and more experienced and you're able to deal with things that come up," she said. 

Some of her longest swims over her more than 27-year swimming career include Lake Tahoe, the English Channel, and Manhattan. 

"I did a major swim this summer in the North Channel between Ireland and Scotland, and that was in 53 degree water for 15 hours, so this will be a bathtub tomorrow," she said. 

Bathtub or not, a windy day or a lot of marine life could make this trip a challenge. 

Cleveland plans to take off from the water by Magnuson Hotel in St. Petersburg around 6 a.m. on Monday. The hopes to finish the distance in less than 12 hours.