Endurance swimmer attempts to make history with 44th English Channel crossing

An Australian marathon swimmer is bidding to be crowned “Queen of the English Channel” as she seeks to make history.

Chloe McCardel is chasing glory as she attempts an unrivalled 44th swim across the Dover Strait after equalling the record last week.

Setting off from Kent in the early hours of Wednesday, the endurance athlete has been tackling the 21 miles separating Calais from the English coast and is expected ashore in France in the afternoon.

Chloe McCardel
Just last week, Ms McCardel equalled the world record of 43 crossings (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Ms McCardel – who only learned to swim aged 11 – now looks at the Channel as her “spiritual home”.

She has said that by taking on the gruelling crossing so many times, she wants to inspire girls and show that anything is possible.

She said: “I think sometimes women don’t get recognised for their achievements as much as they should – to have female role models has been amazing for me and I really hope I can be that for other women and girls.”

The English Channel is a challenging swim, with an array of variables.

Chloe McCardel
Chloe McCardel only learned to swim at the age of 11 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Changing tides can effectively add extra distance and waves can reach two metres high, while the waters also host a stream of cargo ships and ferries.

Ms McCardel holds the world record for the longest unassisted ocean swim – 124km (77 miles) from South Eleuthera Island to Nassau in the Bahamas.

She also made a non-stop triple crossing of the English Channel in 2015, which took almost 37 hours.