Endurance swimmer begins record-breaking Channel attempt

An endurance swimmer has set off on her record-breaking swimming attempt across the English Channel.

Chloe McCardel, 35, began her 35th swim from Abbot’s Cliff beach near Folkestone on Saturday evening, aiming to make the 21-mile crossing to Calais in 10 hours.

After mere minutes on French soil she will start the return swim to a support boat, hoping to reach British shores again by 8.30am on Sunday.

English Channel swimming record
English Channel swimming record

Ms McCardel had originally planned to set off at 10am on Sunday but rescheduled due to potentially poor weather conditions.

It would be her 35th successful Channel crossing, passing the men’s record of 34 held by British athlete Kevin Murphy.

The Australian previously said she will spend less than 10 minutes on French soil, and is hoping she will not have to quarantine when she returns to Dover with her support crew.

English Channel swimming record
English Channel swimming record

The Government announced on Thursday that people arriving in the UK from France after 4am on Saturday need to spend 14 days in self-isolation due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases across the Channel.

Ms McCardel told the PA news agency: “I’ve got a little celebration planned in England with the support crew, the team, the volunteers who have been so supportive throughout this.

“So I am hoping the Government allow us to do that without having to quarantine.”

Ms McCardel was given special dispensation from Australian authorities to travel to the UK to complete three Channel crossings in recent weeks, taking her level with Mr Murphy’s record.

She holds multiple world records for endurance swimming including the longest ever unassisted ocean swim in the Bahamas in 2014.