Marathon swimmer Chloë McCardel has made history after crossing the English Channel a record-breaking 44th time.
The Australian embarked on her 44th crossing early on Wednesday morning, making her way to Wissant Beach near Pointe de la Courte Dune on the French coast in just over ten hours.
Surpassing British swimmer Alison Streeter’s record of 43 crossings, McCardel is now the Queen of the English Channel – pending ratification.
McCardel has described Streeter as her ‘idol’ and ‘inspiration to keep pushing my boundaries, setting new goals, and then setting higher goals’.
She told Outdoor Swimmer this summer: “To play in the field that she’s at, at that level, and to have the opportunity to be a role model to others like she has been, it’s very humbling. I admire her so much.”
The 36-year-old first swam the English Channel in 2009 in 12 hours 3 minutes. A year later she completed a two-way crossing, and in 2015 completed a coveted three-way crossing which took nearly 37 hours.
She credits her swim coaches for helping her believe in her potential as a teenager. “I think it’s so special because I know that it played a huge role in helping me believe in myself and there’s no way I would be setting big goals for myself unless I had people around me early on to say: ‘You can do this, you can go to the next step’”
McCardel says growing up in Australia the English Channel was put on a pedestal. “It’s not just a diesel-infused bit of water at the bottom of England. We really respect the Channel. In swimming circles, it’s revered. It’s really seen as the most difficult swim in the world. It’s got a very special place in our hearts.”