She did it! Legendary Australian marathon swimmer Chloë McCardel has just completed her 43rd crossing of the English Channel, equalling the world record for most number of channel crossings set by British swimmer Alison Streeter in 2004.
The Melbourne-raised Sydneysider, and one of Australia’s greatest long-distance female swimmers, completed the grueling 34km swim from Dover in the UK to Callais in France just after 9pm (AEDT) Thursday 8th October, in a time of 10 hours and 54 minutes.
“That was a tough swim, the tide was very strong, running at 11km per hour, making the swim really tough. It took an hour longer than it would on any other day!” Chloë said as she recovered on the shores of Dover, having returned to Britain by boat. “Finally, though, after pushing through the tide and reaching the French coast I had this amazing, surreal experience that I had finally equalled one of the greatest marathon swimmers in history.”
“I am elated and honored to join swimming great Alison Streeter in completing the English Channel 43 times. It has been a rough two months leading up to this swim, with some of the windiest conditions ever seen, so finally finishing this momentous swim feels great.”
Chloë will take to the water for one more swim (number 44) to break the world record as early as Monday 11 October, following which she will be crowned Queen of the Channel.
“My journey is not over just yet; I will jump back in the water in the coming days to break the world record and make Australia proud. I can’t wait to celebrate with my supporters and bring the crown home.” The English Channel is a challenging swim with a number of variables at play – from changing tides adding extra distance and waves often reaching 2m in height, to the busy stream of cargo ships and ferries crossing daily. Not least the added threat of hypothermia, which Chloë herself was hospitalised with in 2011. The swim is often decided at short notice due to these impacting factors.
Last year, Chloë surpassed the Men’s World Record of 34 English Channel crossings when she completed her 37th swim. Chloë became the 4th person, and the only Australian, to complete a triple non-stop crossing of the English Channel in 2015 – she was the first person to do so in 25 years.