More individuals have climbed Everest than have swam across the English Channel swim. The 34km Channel swim is regarded by many as the most challenging and iconic marathon swim in the world.
Chloë McCardel’s incredible record breaking career
- Most single crossings of the English Channel by a swimmer.
- Longest continuous, unassisted, open ocean swim in neutral currents.
- McCardel uses her profile to advocate for domestic violence survivors.
36-year old Australian Chloë McCardel has swam across the English Channel for a record breaking 44th time on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, beating the previous world record of 43 crossings. It took her 12 years to accomplish this feat, having first crossed the channel in 2009, aged 24.
She had broken the men’s world record of 34 crossings last year, and with this 44th crossing has surpassed the world record previously held by British swimmer Alison Stretter. McCardel tied Stretter’s record 6 days prior to her record setting crossing.
A single crossing to cover the 34 km distance takes 10 to 11 1/2 hours to complete and requires McCardel to make at least 36000 arm strokes. The water temperatures on her final swims were 14 degrees Celsius and according the the Channel Swimming Association rules you cannot wear a wetsuit for protection.
On top of the blistering cold temperatures, swimmers must battle jellyfish which are abundant in the channel, waves and heavy maritime traffic. Speaking of her motivation to accomplish this monumental achievement to Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast, McCardel said:
“In 2016 I went after the legendary Aussie Swimmer Des Renford’s record for the most Australia crossings of the English Channel, he was at 19.
“So I did eight that season, I got up to 21 and I thought, you know what I am halfway pretty much to 43, why I don’t go for the record and make it 44.”
Incredibly McCardel did not start swimming until she was eleven. She began marathon swimming at the age of 19, making the decision to become the best in the world.
If one calculates the total distance of just her 44 Channel crossings, McCardel has covered an astounding 1,496km. To make an Australian comparison, that is a greater distance than driving from Adelaide to Sydney while taking a detour through Canberra.
McCardel had also made a number of other incredible marathon swims. She successfully completed a non-stop triple crossing of the English Channel in 2015, swimming for nearly 37 hours non-stop. She had previously tried to accomplish the feat the year earlier but ended up in intensive care due to hypothermia.
The Australian also holds the Marathon Swimming Federations’s record for longest continuous, unassisted, open ocean swim in neutral currents. She accomplished an incredible 126km swim from South Eleuthera to Nassau, Bahamas. The journey required 41hours and 21 minutes of continuous swimming from October 20-22, 2020.
McCardel is a member of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and was named International Marathon Swimmer of the Year twice, in 2014 and 2015. Marathon swimming is an amateur sport, not funding or supported by Swimming Australia.
Her swimming is entirely self funded or sponsored. McCarder uses her profile from swimming to shine a light and advocate for women who have experienced domestic violence.
You can read more about McCardel’s exploits on her website using the following link.