Around this time next week, Chloe McCardel could very well be on her way to a world record. The Australian long-distance swimmer is going to attempt to become the first ever person to successfully swim from Cuba to the United States. In the process, this will set a new mark for the longest solo unassisted ocean swim. Her 170km journey across the Florida Straits to Key West will take place between June 10-19, depending on the weather forecast.
“I’m swimming in what’s called the English Channel Rules, established in international marathons. I won’t be touching the boat. I won’t be touching anyone else, no one’s allowed to touch me. I can’t have any flotation devices and anything that would help me move forward,” stated the 27-year-old. As of now, the record is currently being held by a fellow Australian, Penny Paltrey, who swam 67 miles (108km) between Grand Cayman Island and Little Cayman back in 2011.
In fact, the Cuba to Florida swim was attempted four separate times by Diana Nyad to no avail. Her most recent attempt was last August, where she was pulled from the water after suffering from jellyfish stings and being veered off course by the inclement weather. Chloe’s team has been studying Diana’s past attempts and they are hoping that they will be able to avoid some of the hazards that she faced along her way. “Because it’s comparatively early in the summer, we believe that we’ve got less chance of running into box jellyfish. They’ll be hanging around but we won’t be running into multitudes of them like Diana did in the past,” explained Chloe.
Back in 2010, Chloe managed to complete a double crossing of the English Channel. However, she was unable to become the first Australian to finish a triple crossing (three nonstop swims) despite two previous attempts. Based on her estimation, if everything were to go well, the entire swim will take between 55 to 60 hours. “You’re extremely exposed to the condition of the water. You can’t build a tent or rest up and have a nap. You can’t slow down or have a rest. While I’m feeding, I tread water. It’s quite tiring to be upright in the water treading water and having a feed,” said Chloe. For the rest of the story, you can read more over here.