Dover – August 14, 2020: 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).
Chloë McCardel is pushing the boundaries of marathon swimming and what the human mind and body can achieve. Described as the greatest ultra-marathon swimmer in history, an inspiration and role model, Chloë aims to achieve the impossible.
In 2017, Chloë attempted what is widely considered the greatest endurance challenge – the 136km quadruple non-stop crossing of the English Channel. This had never been attempted previously, let alone completed. While unsuccessful on her first attempt, Chloë completed her third double crossing of the English Channel. Chloë does not see this attempt as a ‘failure’ but rather a step closer to achieving this incredible feat. It has provided her with an opportunity to learn more and find ways to improve. Chloë still believes a quadruple crossing of the English Channel is possible and is inspired to dramatically alter the perception of what the human mind and body can achieve in such harsh, inhospitable conditions.
In 2016, Chloë crossed the English Channel eight times, breaking the World Record for completed crossings in one season. This also gave her the Australian Record of 21 crossings of the English Channel, breaking the legendary Des Renford’s long-standing Australian record.
In 2015, Chloë was the first Australian to complete a triple non-stop crossing of the English Channel. Only three other ultra-marathon swimmers have completed a triple non-stop crossing of the English Channel, which were completed over 27 years ago. In 2014, Chloë set the World Record for the longest ratified unassisted ocean swim of 124.4km in 41.5 hours. This was completed in the Bahamas between South Eleuthera Island to Nassau.
Chloë trains in water temperatures as low as 11°C for up to six hours; completes overnight training swims of up to 20 hours in 15°C, with 3°C air temperature; and distances of 110-140km in a week. Training also includes pool training equivalent to a male 1,500m Olympic-level swimmer.
In 2016, Chloë was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as its youngest member, and awarded the International Marathon Swimmer of the Year ‘Poseidon Award’. Chloë was awarded these for her 2015 triple non-stop crossing of the English Channel (36hrs 12min) and an unprecedented three crossings in one week, only one month prior to the triple crossing. In 2015, Chloë was also awarded the 2015 Marathon Swimmers Federation ‘Solo Swim of the Year (Female)’ for the triple crossing. In addition, Chloë was awarded the 2014 MSF ‘Solo Swim of the Year (Female)’ for her 124.4km World Record swim in the Bahamas. The Channel Swimming Association has awarded Chloë 19 awards and plates for her English Channel achievements.