Australian English Channel record equalled
Photo Source: AAP
As ultra-marathon swimmer Chloe McCardel swam the English Channel to equal the Australian record for the number of crossings, she felt a special bond with the man who set that record.
McCardel's crossing in just over 10 hours on Sunday was her 19th, equalling that of Des Renford who made his last crossing in 1980, five years before she was born.
The 31-year-old hopes to beat the record with her 20th crossing some time this week, weather and conditions permitting.
She told AAP on Sunday she was "super excited" to have equalled the record
"I knew that as long as I finished that swim, it didn't matter what time I did or where I finished in France, that I would be equalling Australian history.
"Always finishing a channel crossing is fantastic but this was super super special because I have a strong connection with the Renford family.
"I feel close to Des even though I never met him," McCardel said of Renford, who died aged 72 in 1999, a year after being inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
"I kind of felt like he was there in a way with me that whole swim and now we're on par which is really cool," McCardel said.
"But hopefully for not too long a while because I would like to get another one in and have the record soon."
McCardel said Sunday's swim started in the dark at 2.55am and was in choppy water for the first four hours, making it difficult to find her rhythm.
But conditions improved and she swam hard towards the end knowing she could rest on the support boat on the way back to England after a short stop on a French rock.
McCardel said Renford was a legend in marathon swimming circles and she was still in awe of him and other record-breaking channel swimmers, including British woman Alison Streeter who holds the channel record with 43 crossings.
Now McCardel is among the channel crossing greats, having last August become the first Australian and only the fourth person in the world to complete a non-stop triple crossing, achieved in 36 hours and 12 minutes.
After hopefully achieving her Australian channel record this week she is off to California to be inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.
McCardel says her long-distance swimming is a "life commitment" and she hopes it inspires other to take up open water and ultra-marathon swimming.