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UK quarantine rules threatened record Channel swim

Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel broke men's record for successful Channel crossings at the weekend

Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel's record-breaking crossing of the Channel at the weekend nearly did not happen due to quarantine rules.

The 35-year-old made her 35th Channel crossing in 10 hours and 40 minutes, reaching the French coast early on Sunday, after leaving Abbot’s Cliff beach, near Folkestone, on Saturday evening.

She documented some of her crossing on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Film crew getting in my way!!

A post shared by Chloë McCardel (@chloemccardel) on

It was her 35th successful swim and took her past the all-time men's record, held by Kevin Murphy, to second in the all-time standings behind Briton Alison Streeter, who has completed 43 swims.

There had been concern over whether recently imposed coronavirus regulations would force Ms McCardel and her team to quarantine on their return to the UK - but she said she had been given the all-clear.

Because she spent less than 10 minutes on land at Cap Gris-Nez, the Channel Swimming Association confirmed that her swim could go ahead as long as she maintained social distancing. UK and French coastguards also gave the all-clear.

She had previously negotiated special dispensation from the Australian government to travel to the UK for her record attempt, in which she completed three swims in 16 days prior to the weekend's main event.

Afterwards, she said in a statement: “It was more difficult than I had imagined. There was a risk of cancellation due to heavy mist which made the Channel crossing dangerous.”

She said she was looking forward to a rest. “I’ve got a lot more muscular soreness than I anticipated. I don’t think I want to swim the Channel again for a while.”

Ms McCardel holds the record for the longest unassisted ocean swim of 124km. In 2017, she became the first person to attempt a quadruple non-stop crossing of the Channel, but she was not successful. The feat was finally achieved by cancer-survivor Sarah Thomas from the United States last year.

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