Ultra-marathon swimmer Chloë McCardel is expected to leave British shores late Saturday evening (August 15) in her extraordinary quest to break the men’s world record for the greatest number of English Channel crossings.

The Melbourne-raised Sydneysider, who has spent many months in the UK over the past decade, has already completed 34 crossings of the treacherous stretch of water, including three crossings over 9 days.

Now level with the men’s world record, which has stood since July 21, 2006, Chloë should complete her 35th crossing at Cap Gris-Nez near Calais, France, tomorrow night weather-permitting. The 34-kilometre (21 miles) crossing between England and France – the world’s busiest shipping lane -is expected to take her around ten hours.

She was recently granted an exemption to leave Australia under current COVID-19 restrictions to attempt this record-breaking swim.

The 35-year-old elite athlete said: “I am so honoured to be setting off knowing that I am doing this for a bigger cause than myself. I’m hoping I can make friends and family proud, that my story will inspire others to never give up and that we CAN overcome extreme hurdles that life throws at us.

“I’m also sending my thoughts out to everyone impacted by the COVID pandemic, especially those who have been or are currently trapped in their homes, sometimes in extremely challenging environments, especially those who are experiencing domestic violence.

“Many might think that what I do needs superhuman strength but at one point in my life I was very vulnerable and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD). Endurance training has helped me through those challenging periods in my life. I hope my efforts will inspire others – whoever they are and whatever their circumstances – to stay strong and resilient in these difficult times.”

If successful on Sunday, Chloë will move to second on the overall record list, behind retired English swimmer Alison Streeter MBE who has completed the crossing 43 times.

Chloë holds multiple world records for endurance swimming including the longest ever unassisted ocean swim in the Bahamas in 2014 (124.4km).