A marathon swimmer ready to break the record for the 44th Channel crossing

A marathon runner is about to undertake a 44th crossing of the English Channel, a world record.

Chloe McCardel, 36, was born and raised in Australia and still lives there, but spends “two to three months almost every year” in the UK preparing for and participating in her Channel crossings.

Having first swum the famous 21 mile (34km) stretch in 2009, she has covered it 41 times and is currently in New Romney, Kent preparing for the three swims that will see her surpass the current record of 43, which is held by Briton Alison Streeter.

“La Manche is like my spiritual home, so I have a draw to come back here every year,” she told the PA news agency.

A competitive junior swimmer in the pool as a teenager, Ms McCardel came to open water competitions after vowing to become “the best in the world at something”.

Chloe McCardel lives in Australia and travels to the UK several months a year (Daniel Kukec)

She dabbled in triathlons and running marathons before turning to open water swimming and immediately “fell in love” with the sport.

“Being in the natural environment and pushing my own limits, and not being confined to the pool or surrounded by chlorine, I found it so liberating and such an amazing experience,” she said.

“So I knew if I wanted to be the best in the world I had to go where all the best marathon swimmers have historically gone and that’s the English Channel.”

Ms McCardel, who also holds the world record for the longest unassisted open water swim at 124km, will attempt all three of her swims over the next few weeks and hopes to have broken the record by mid-October.

The swims require favorable weather and conditions, so it is not possible to know exactly when she will take Ms. Streeter’s record.

When she does, it will finally fulfill a long-held ambition to emulate a woman she has revered for years.

Chloe McCardel swimming in the English Channel
Chloe McCardel has so far swum the English Channel 41 times (Chloe McCardel)

“He’s one of my idols,” Ms. McCardel said.

“Over a decade ago, when a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Aussie came from halfway around the world, I read books about her exploits, I heard people talking about the amazing Alison Streeter, so to be able to swim in his wake, so to speak, is an absolute privilege and honor.

“I am so excited to be able to become one of the figures in the history of swimming in the English Channel and to reinforce this role and also to have the opportunity to inspire the people who pass behind me.

But it seems unlikely that she will extend the record any further.

“I absolutely intend to stop at 44, I will announce my retirement,” she said.

“I’ve lived a very disjointed life for the past ten years, I’m an amateur athlete, I don’t make money from it, so I think it’s time for me to look to new horizons.”