Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel is “in great spirits” after breaking the men’s record for the most number of swims across the English Channel.
The 35-year-old from Melbourne has become the second person in history to reach 35 channel swims, beating British man Kevin Murphy who completed his 34th swim in 2006.
Ms McCardel took 10 hours and 40 minutes to complete a distance of 35 kilometres after setting off from a beach in Kent in south-east England on Sunday (Australian time).
She hopes her feat can help to raise awareness about domestic violence, revealing that she is a survivor who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I’m in great spirits,” Ms McCardel said after arriving in France following the record-breaking cross of the English Channel.
“It’s such a joyous thing to be able to surpass the record and move to second spot on the list of most Channel crossings.”
She moved to second on the list of the most Channel swims, behind British woman Alison Streeter who holds the all-time record with 43.
“It’s a very momentous occasion and I’m very proud to be able to represent Australia,” Ms McCardel said.
The Australian government last month granted her a travel exemption to travel to the UK amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She initially feared she may be forced to spend two weeks in self-isolation after arriving in Calais.
But UK and French coastguards gave her the all-clear and was advised by the Channel Swimming Association her swim could go ahead.
“We don’t go anywhere near the border officials or passport control, so I’m hoping technically the quarantine thing won’t apply,” she said.
Ms McCardel said there was little risk of coming into contact with someone in France because her swims usually end in an area of boulders in Calais.
“I usually finish where there are large boulders and it’s inaccessible to people on land because you can’t walk through the boulders. There’s no sand,” she said.
“I would like to have a little celebration this evening in England. I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support, from my English host to my support boat captains and crew.
“I’m excited to celebrate this achievement together with them.
Ms McCardel already negotiated special dispensation from the Australian government to travel to the UK for her record attempt.
A survivor of domestic violence, Ms McCardel hopes to be a voice for those in similar circumstances.
“I’ve also been thinking a lot about the people in lockdown, particularly women facing domestic violence, and I’m proud to be able to be a voice for those who don’t have one,” she said.
Ms McCardel holds multiple records for endurance swimming, including the longest ratified unassisted ocean swim in 2014, when she covered 124.4km in 41.5 hours in the waters around the Bahamas.