Chloë McCardel Notches Record Number of Swims Across the English Channel

Endurance Swimming
Chloë McCardel.

Chloë McCardel, 36, has completed her 44th crossing of the English Channel. This breaks the record for the number of crossings by a single swimmer.

The Australian swimmer started her swim in Kent on Wednesday and arrived 32km later at Pointe de la Courte Dune, France after 10 hours and one minute of swimming. It was her seventh crossing of 2021.

McCardel has been racking up Channel swims for over a decade. Last year, she exceeded the men’s record of 34 Channel crossings. Alison Streeter, who swam the Channel 43 times, held the previous record.

McCardel lands in France after #44.

Over the years, McCardel has spent over 450 hours in the frigid waters of the Channel. Her longest single swim was a triple crossing that took almost 37 hours. She has been actively working toward the record for the last five years.

It hasn’t been easy. She has suffered many jellyfish stings, battled hypothermia, and even ended up in hospital after one of her attempts. She swam her previous crossing just days after recovering from a chest infection.

A survivor of domestic abuse, McCardel credits swimming the Channel for rebuilding her confidence and sense of identity. She told the Guardian that the stretch of water has an “almost magical pull…I call it my spiritual home.”

Photo: PA Media

Now that she has broken the record, she admits that she is unlikely to return. After years of marathon swimming, she suffers from pain in her muscles, tendons, and ligaments. She feels like her body is telling her to stop, and she has achieved her goal.

“I’m really happy to just retire as queen,” she told Radio National, “Forty-four is a lot. I don’t feel any compulsion to go back, there’s no other record in the Channel that excites me.”

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About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK.

She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans and aims to dive and open-water swim in as many seas as possible.

Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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