An Australian marathon swimmer is back in the water in a bid to be crowned “Queen of the English Channel”.
Chloe McCardel is seeking to smash the world record for most swims across the Dover Strait, currently at 43.
She has gone from only learning to swim at the age of 11 to adopting the Channel as her “spiritual home”.
In taking on the gruelling crossing so many times, she wants to inspire girls and show that anything is possible.
Overnight into Thursday morning, Ms McCardel took to the water once more in search of crossing number 43, which would equal the record held by retired British swimmer Alison Streeter.
Ahead of the swim, Ms McCardel said: “Alison Streeter was my idol when I was moving to Channel swimming – she inspired me to continue to push my boundaries.
“Australia has such a rich history in English Channel swimming and I’m so proud to represent my country out in the Channel, a place which I see as my spiritual home.”
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.
Setting off from Kent at around midnight on Thursday, Ms McCardel was followed by a support boat during her attempt which is likely to take about 11 hours.
Despite being just 21 miles across at its narrowest point, the English Channel is a challenging swim, with an array of variables.
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 added: “I really want to inspire young people, especially girls, showing them that anything is possible. I only learnt how to swim at the age of 11 and I will soon have managed to swim the English Channel more times than anyone in the world – I want them to know that they can do anything too.
“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.”
After equalling the record on Thursday, Ms McCardel hopes to make the record-breaking swim at the weekend.
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