Forecast forces endurance swimmer to start record-breaking Channel bid sooner

An endurance swimmer will embark on a record-breaking swimming attempt across the English Channel earlier than scheduled, despite new quarantine measures imposed on travellers from France.

Chloe McCardel, 35, is due to begin her 35th swim from Dover at 8pm on Saturday, aiming for the 21-mile crossing to Calais to take 10 hours.

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

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

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

Endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel
Endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel

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.

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 have made some inquiries about what happens when I get to France.

“Literally, I reach the shore and stand up on land for a couple of minutes, then it’s back in the water, swim to the support boat, and head back to England.

“We don’t go anywhere near the border officials or passport control, so I’m hoping technically the quarantine thing won’t apply.

“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.

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