‘Marathon swimming found me. I didn’t find it. Because it just felt like it was meant to be. It just felt so natural. This is where I’m supposed to be. It’s just that I’d spent my whole life building up to this moment’
This conversation has been over 3.5 years in the making.
She was one of the first people I invited to be a guest on Sparta Chicks Radio and I’m so happy the planets finally aligned.
My guest; a woman described as the greatest ultra-marathon swimmer in history, Chloë McCardel.
Amazingly, Chloë didn’t learn how to swim until she was 11.
Yet within 2 years, she was swimming at State level and eventually had her eye on Olympic qualification.
Sadly, that wasn’t to be.
But during her university years, she discovered triathlons which led to marathon swimming.
The year was 2006 and the rest, as they say, is history.
She now holds multiple world records including for the longest ever unassisted swim by any person - a mind-blowing 124.4km which she swam in the Bahamas in 2014.
At the start of 2020, Chloë arrived in England with 31 crossings of the English Channel under her belt, and a plan to break the men’s record of 34 crossings.
Fun fact; the women’s record stands at 43 crossings.
Does she have her eye on that record too? You’ll have to listen to find out!
In this conversation, she shares:
* her childhood and the embarrassment she felt at not being able to swim,
* her first marathon swim and why she fell in love with the sport,
* her first attempt at swimming the English Channel and what made her want to go back again after such a scary experience,
* whether the weight of her public profile makes the ‘failures’ and disappointments harder to process,
* the importance of debriefing after a big event (or project) to identify what worked and what didn’t,
* her record-breaking Channel swims which included 4 swims in 16 days (keep in mind, we’re talking about 34km / 21mi and 9 - 11 hours swimming each time), and
* why she wanted to use this project to raise awareness about domestic violence and how she decided now was the right time to tell her story.
Funnily enough, we only recorded this conversation last Wednesday evening (AEDT) and I edited/prepared it on Friday.
Yet the total number of Chloë's swims across the Channel is already out-of-date; she completed her 37th crossing over the weekend!
Notes and resources: