Chloë McCardel On Her English Channel Four-Way

Chloë McCardel On Her English Channel Four-Way

Courtesy of WOWSA, English Channel.

Chloë McCardel is undergoing her final preparations for an unprecedented four-way crossing of the English Channel (history’s first solo quadruple Channel crossing).

If there is anyone who could do it in the contemporary swimming world, it is the 32-year-old McCardel who already has a career total of 21 English Channel crossings under her swim cap.

When I completed the triple, I was utterly exhausted – nauseous and hypothermic, with my swimming costume hanging off me because I’d burnt through so much body fat.

Getting through all that, then turning around to swim another crossing will be absolute torture, but I’m determined to do it

Her attempt can be followed on her GPS Tracker which will be updated here every ten minutes throughout the crossing.

She explained a bit more about her plans:

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Will your husband Paul McQueeney stay awake during the entire time?

Chloë McCardel: Although he stayed awake as my solo support crew for the triple crossing in 2015 – it is unlikely he will again as we have one other crew person on board to assist. He will probably get 4-5 hours sleep over the course of the swim as sleeping on English Channel boats is not easy.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Assuming your swim will take roughly over 40 hours, do you ever get sleepy during these long swims?

Chloë McCardel: I think the swim will take 45-55 hours to complete (weather dependent). I don’t feel sleepy, but I do feel very fatigued and my pace drops over multi-channel crossings which is a combination of fatigue from continuous swimming the challenging elements (fighting tide, fighting the cold – as swimming in cold water burns so much energy and fighting waves), but also fatigue from lack of sleep.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you ever change your stroke or your kick or your pace or your breathing direction – or anything – in a 40+ hour swim?

Chloë McCardel: For double English Channel crossings or longer, I try to incorporate as much breathing as possible both sides. But, as I am right-side breathing dominant in the past, I have still turned to the right about 80% of the time over the course of swim when turning for a breath.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How many people are in your crew as pilots, observers and crew?

Chloë McCardel: My husband and one more person will be my feeding crew and there will likely be two pilots and two observers and maybe someone to assist get news out from the boat. The exact number is not known.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Are you starting in England?

Chloë McCardel: Yes – this the only way currently permissable to start Channel swims.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you have any goal times in mind?

Chloë McCardel: The main point is just finishing – anything else is a bonus. I don’t want to focus too much on swimming quick laps when I start as this will sap energy for the third and fourth lap – so not really. There is no way to predict times of the third and fourth laps due to fatigue, the extreme difficulty of fighting the tide in multiple crossings and as the weather is more unpredictable and changeable the longer I am out there.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Who is your pilots?

Chloë McCardel: Reg and Ray Brickell.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What will be your last meal before you start?

Chloë McCardel: Probably pasta with mushrooms. I am vegetarian.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Would you rather start at night or in the morning?

Chloë McCardel: In the morning.

Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Have you ever hallucinated on your longest swims?

Chloë McCardel: Yes. I usually start hallucinating after 20-25 hours of swimming. Lack of sleep is known to trigger hallucinations.

For more information about McCardel, visit her website here.

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Steven Munatones