Chloë McCardel Cuba to Florida Swim

Dear Marathon Swim Forum Friends!!

After 6 months of careful planning, I am very excited to share with you that I, with the wonderful support of my team (including husband -Paul), will be attempting a 170km+, solo, non-stop, World Record swim from Cuba to the U.S. in June 2013! It will be the longest continuous solo swim in history from land (no water behind) to land (no water in front) without assistance and in open water. Our swim aims to both set a new World Record and to raise money for cancer research and support for people living with cancer.

Paul and I highly value virtues such as accountability and transparency, therefore, we will be having two official observers on board who will not be designated any other task than to ensure to ensure the safety of the swimmer and to observe the rules of the swim to ensure they are being followed. We will be posting a full-list of our rules before the swim start on this forum and on our website. We will then upload the observers report on this forum within 24hours of the completion of the swim. I will also make myself available to answer questions from forum members before the swim. Paul and I have decided that we want to achieve a WR under ‘basic’ swim rules, similar to those in the English Channel. Here is a list we have comprised so far:

• The only things which will be worn by Chloë are: a basic swim bather (which cannot assist performance nor retain heat, or extend passed the groin or shoulder), earplugs, one pair of swim goggles, one cap and a substance may be rubbed on the body.
• No shark cage, full-length swim suit, wetsuit, flotation device, flippers, snorkel nor other ‘outside’ assistance allowed
• Chloë will not touch or board the boat or touch another person
• No sharks will be harmed by the conduct of anyone involved, during the swim (we will be inviting a shark conservationist to be onboard during the swim)

If you would like to join our growing volunteer support crew and are available in person in Florida between the 10th – 20th of June 2013, we would love to hear from you! We are happy to provide support for basic costs, where event sponsorship is available. For those wishing to assist we will need to know of your preliminary interest before the 14th of January as all support crew volunteers must be locked in before the end of January due to regulatory guidelines.

Positions required during the swim include:
Support crew on boat (Medical, Feeding, Kayakers & General)
Support Crew on land (event management)

We are also seeking those across a variety of countries who wish to assist us with fundraising for cancer charities and administrative support for the event from February 1st until June 30th. Those with a skill set in digital marketing, media, communications and/or fundraising (regardless of location) are highly desired – but all-comers are welcome! Please forward your name, contact details, country of origin, skill set (or a few lines about your background), role preference and availability to
We have also timed this mid-June swim to ensure it starts after MIMS and finishes before the end of the 8 bridges swim in case some of our volunteers wish to complete MIMS and/or one or two legs of 8 bridges.
For more information about the swim please see the Media Release which can be found on the blog. Looking forward to having you on our TEAM to achieve a World Record and COMBAT CANCER in 2013! :)

We would like to thank Commodore José M Diaz Escrich and the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba for their wonderful support in assisting us to organize this WR swim!

Chloe & Paul
Skype: ‘ChloeMcCardel’


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I'm delighted to see Chloe & Paul (also a forum member) publicly announce this exciting swim attempt and the transparent and open manner in which they are doing so. It will hopefully do much to rebalance of public perception of what our sport can be at the elite end, in 2013.

  • WalterWalter Southern CaliforniaMember
    Great news, Chloe! I hope you will take time to blog or post here some of your training swims, a number of which, I suppose, will be feats of endurance notable even apart from their association with your larger effort. Best of luck!

    I'm not very popular around here; but I've heard that I'm huge in Edinburgh!

  • smithsmith Huntsville, AlabamaSenior Member
    Will a Shark Shield ( be used, as was the case in Ned Denison's swim in South Africa last week?

    It would seem that this would be fine as it doesn't artificially assist a swimmer's forward progress.

    Keep moving forward.

  • Dear Niek, Loneswimmer, Walter, Smith & others,

    Many thanks for your kind comments & support :) RE: Shark Shield, good question - we are still working through some details, we will be publicly posting, at least one week prior to the beginning of the swim window -with the administrators approval- all of the swim details/rules we intend to follow and all those involved in the attempt and their roles on this Forum and also on our website. We are aiming for full transparency and accountability, under channel swimming rules. As mentioned we are ALSO raising money for cancer charity so we would really appreciate all the help we can get :)

    Kind Regards,

    Chloe & Paul
    Skype: ‘ChloeMcCardel’
  • Best of luck, Chloe!
  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    It's going to be great following you. Best of luck. I wish my swim schedule wasn't so busy this summer. I'd love to be there. It's going to be epic.
  • sharkbaitzasharkbaitza LondonMember
    Epic swim!!! good luck!
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Best of luck, Chloe!
  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    edited May 2013
    Hi Everyone,

    Paul here, Chloë's husband, she is currently bunkered down in the US and I am joining her this weekend. We both apologise for not posting on this forum more often over the last 5 months but the logistics behind the swim as well as the Cancer fundraising has well and truly owned us during this period. I can say it has been without question the most stressful period of both our lives…we have faced many roadblocks and hurdles along the way, some really surprised us, some not. The one thing that I wanted to ensure everyone on Chloë and my behalf is that we are both remaining true and 100 % plus committed to Chloë’s original post above on this swim. We will have official observers on the boat and will before (hopefully during) and after the swim make available publically full copies of the observers reports & rules of the swim. If the rules of the swim change at any stage during the swim- one of the observers will flag this asap(subject to satellite coverage ) to our onshore contact who will then post to this site ,Chloe’s web site & social media sites & via Steve @Munatones. We aim for this swim to be about transparency and credibility - Chloë and the team are fully committed to this.
    Either myself or a member of the team will upload the draft observers report/rules of the swim over the next 2 weeks prior the swim. We will have a GPS tracker on board with a link from Chloe’s website (below). We will be announcing the observers within the coming days.
    In finishing, we are blessed to have built a team of amazing people that believe in Chloë and in what we are hoping to achieve. We are really very appreciative of all their amazing support!!

    Thanks for everyone’s continued support 
    Kindest Regards,

    Paul & Chloë

    Website: (including GPS Tracking during the swim)
    Face Book:
    Skype/Google Chat: chloemccardel
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Best of luck to both of you Paul.

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Good luck!

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Go Aussie!!!
  • molly1205molly1205 Lincoln, NebraskaSenior Member
    Go Chloe!

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • KevsgrlSwimsKevsgrlSwims Member
    edited June 2013
    You've got this Chloe!
  • MvGMvG MauritiusCharter Member
    How can anyone even contemplate such a monstrous distance?!
    This swim is beyond epic.
    Best of luck Chloe!
  • LynnkubLynnkub Charter Mem​ber
    Woo double Hoo!!! Go Chloe!!!
  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    edited June 2013
    Hi All,

    Firstly many thanks for all the support. Some updates from Chloe & I re the swim and Very importantly details on our Official observers and the SWIM RULES

    Chloe is off line today on a small island off Nassau doing a 1 on 1 snorkelling session with some white tip sharks. This was part of our due diligence plan leading into the swim as Chloe has never seen a shark up close in a swim before and we wanted her to get up close encounter before the Cuba- US swim- to ensure seeing one during the swim would not unnerve her (we were confident it wouldn't )

    We head to Cuba over the coming days with a potential start date of mid- late next week- once Andrea settles down a little.

    As many people are aware- the Transparency and Credibility of this swim is something that Chloe, myself and our team are very passionate about. We had a number of people (some very highly respected observers ) reach out to us across 3 Countries offering to assist us with the observing roles on the swim. To each of these people we are very thankful. The names of the 2 official observers are listed below together with a reserve. We have worked with the 2 official observers over the last few months to put together the rules for the swim - Constructive suggestions or recommendations would be welcome (ideally from people with strong backgrounds in Observing ) re the rules over the next 24hr. If the rules change at any stage during ( we don't believe this will happen ) Dan will at the earliest possible opportunity flag this via Chloe's social media site, via Steve M and this site. Similarly we will make public the observers report asap after the swim has finished

    Observer 1 Dan Simonelli

    Observer 2 Grace Van Der Bye (Grace will also do some paddling )

    Reserve Observer Jen Schumacher.

    ** We are greatly appreciative of many people who are supporting us with this swim- but just wanted to say a massive thankyou up front to Grace- She is racing MIMS on Saturday and then rather than resting she is jumping on a plane out of New York to Key West very early Sunday- she is a very special person

    ** We do have many people to thank- and will publically thank & acknowledge these people post the swim- the swim is very much about the TEAM.

    Thanks again for everyone's support

    Paul & Chloe
    Chloё McCardel – Cuba to USA World Record 2013

    Official Rules

    The Official Rules for this swim are as follows and will be recognized at the sole discretion of the Official Observers, (Grace Van Der Byl and Dan Simonelli), whose ruling will be final.

    Swimmer shall not use or be assisted by an artificial aid of any kind, but is permitted to grease the body before and during the swim, use goggles, wear one cap, nose clip, earplugs and one costume.

    Swimmer’s costume shall be of a material not offering thermal protection or buoyancy and shall be sleeveless and legless: "Sleeveless" shall mean the Costume must not extend beyond the end of the shoulder onto the upper arm; "Legless" shall mean that the costume may not extend on to the upper leg below the level of the crotch.

    The cap shall not offer thermal protection or buoyancy. The Observer will have to approve the costume and cap. The Swimmer must make sure their costume and cap are of an approved type before starting, as the Swim will not be recognized if they do not conform.

    The swimmer shall wear one light stick or similar device for observational safety at night.

    The Swim will employ the use of Shark Shield Devices for swimmer and crew safety.
    (See Shark Safety Guide for further details).

    The swimmer shall enter the water from the shore of departure and swim across from Cuba to USA and finish on dry land or touch steep cliffs or other unscalable landmass within the USA with no sea-water beyond (e.g. a natural or man-made wall).

    Paddlers, Support Boat/s and/or kayak crew will be utilized to escort the swimmer during the swim. Swimmer shall not at any time during the swim make intentional contact with paddler/kayak/vessel in such a way as to support or be assisted.

    The timing of the swim shall start from the moment the swimmer enters the water until she completes the swim as stated above.

    The appointed Official Observers shall be in sole charge of the timing of the swim and shall be responsible for observing compliance with the rules and shall have sole discretion for any necessary interpretation of the rules during the Swim.

    The swimmer shall follow and be guided by the principles applied by the International Olympic Committee for banned drugs / substances.

    Final recognition of the Swim will be accompanied by the Pilot's chart positions and by the Observer's Report with recorded incidents, time, conditions, feedings, etc.

    People will be able to follow the GPS tracking of the Swim via
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Thanks very much for the OPEN update @paulm! Both of your commitment to transparency is much appreciated by the rest of us.

    As always, best of luck to you all, swimmer & crew.

    I imagine Chloe smiling genially at the first shark she sees. And the shark might be the first one to smile back! :-)

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    Hi Donal- appreciate the support as always !!

    Hi Niek- I will need to come back to you on that one. We do also have a team of 4 shark divers who are there to protect the sharks .

    On another note, I got a note from Steve M a little while ago suggesting that we include a clause on drafting. This is a really grey area and the advice we are getting is because of the boat we are using (same boat penny used ) does not offer any real advantage because for Chloe to swim close enough to the Boat to get an advantage she would go into a blind spot of the boat Captain. The aim is for her to swim a couple of meters off the boat. I would welcome people input on this- I also do not want her too far off the boat -with her /crew's safety being our top priority,
  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    If she starts jumping with the dolphins in the bow-wave she's doing it wrong ;)

    I am more worried about her diving down chasing sea turtles (which she did a few times ) during our last Key West practice swim :)
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited June 2013
    How's the weather forecast and window looking @paulm? I completely agree with @Niek on drafting, god knows I went through that whole argument after Trent.

    As you & Chloe know very well, better than almost anyone else in fact, one of the world's most experienced swim pilots , EC pilot Reg Brickell's preferred place for the swimmer, precisely for safety is off the forward bow, where he has the greatest visibility. That's also the place where drafting is maximised, and I maintain you can't separate swimmer safety, wind shelter and drafting as long as swimmer is swimming of the pilot boat instead of a kayak.

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    Hi Donal , We are waiting for Tropical Andrea to pass and the water settle a little. We have a team of 8 meterologists/oceanographers providing much needed expertise advice before and live during the swim. They will tell us when to turn up for the start :)
    Gut feel some time mid to late next week.

    Re drafting clause- I am leaning on the side of leaving it out (not to complicate things )- the safety is our main priority and other swimmers in future can choose to add or remove that clause for their swim

    Appreciate the support !
  • oxooxo Guest
    edited June 2013
    I agree with Steve M on the importance of the 'drafting' issue. The issue goes back to Trent's pilot having told Trent to intentionally draft because intentional drafting (allowed by EC rules apparently) would be necessary to even get close to the EC record. I disagree with Donal's blog posts on drafting - but that's for some other place and time.

    My opinion is that principles come first, and on solo swims they include 'no drafting'. From there, logistics are developed with the safety of swimmer/crew being a top priority. Certainly other people have differing opinions. But more importantly, if it's not my swim, then it's not my swim.

    With your Lagoon 440, the first 1.9m (7.5 ft) of water out from the hull will not be visible to a 6ft tall helmsman at the wheel. That applies directly abeam of the wheel. It's my calculation using the 440's owner's manual, and scaling off various photos. The details in inches: 12+(11*12)*54/(68+24). Of course the helmsman merely needs to see part of the swimmer, so everything but the outside shoulder could be closer and still give the helmsman a visual. With the inside shoulder thus about 5 feet from the hull, I'd say that's drafting no matter where fore/aft.

    Alternatively, swimming 'outside the lifelines' in the eyes of the helmsman would meaning staying 3.1m (10.1 ft) off the hull. The details in inches: 12+(11*12)*(54+22)/(68+24). (for those who don't know, 'lifelines' is a term boaters use for the cable fence around the edge of the deck, of some boats.)

    Given that your Lagoon 440 is a catamaran, swimming fully outside the lifelines would be doing so in the non-draft zone if mid-ship or there about, in my opinion.

    My suggestion is twofold:

    1) include 'estimated swimmer position' as a column on the observer log sheet, plus document with occasional photos.

    2) document the visibility perimeter of the 440 for a standing helmsman by getting in the water when she's docked and using a rope that's flagged or knotted off every foot, with one end being held against the hull at waterline, the other end stretched out perpendicularly to point of helmsman visibility.

    Hope that is useful. All the best on your amazing, inspiring endeavor!

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    Hi All,

    Thanks for the couple of comments and for a number of emails received. After a few calls/Skype sessions we have made a decision to leave a drafting clause out of the rules. Future swimmers may choose to also include it or exclude it (similarly future swims may choose to exclude shark shields). We don't want a long winded debate to follow this swim- where a photo of Chloe appears and for 5 secs she was in the wrong spot - and the photo shows her 'apparently drafting'. Chloe has no intention of drafting her desire is to position herself in a safe position at all times. The safety of herself and the crew is what is most important to us.

    I know the comments above may not be universally approved by everyone in the marathon swimming community. But, Chloe and her crew are doing the upmost to ensure a transparent and accountable swim - one example is the public posting (pre-swim) of both the rules and the observers report etc...

    Again thanks for everyone's support

  • TheoTheo Oxnard, CAMember
    According to her facebook page she is about 2 hours into her swim. Go Chloe!
  • oxooxo Guest
    Go Chloë!
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    Here's the tracker link, but it doesn't seem to be functioning:
  • I am able to see the tracking updates on my computer. I've never been to this site before but it seems to be working for me?
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    The only tracker I am reading as current is the boat heading from Key West to meet up with Chloe and crew.... The other 2 don't seem to be active.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • Aaah, my bad. Thanks :)
  • CoreyCorey BerlinMember
    I am following on her FB page also
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    Looking at the tracking - does it seem to you there's a strong current pulling her west?
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    It's possible they are purposely tacking west so when the big current (which I think usually goes east?) does hit, they're less likely to miss Key West.
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    You go, girl!


    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • oxooxo Guest
    edited June 2013
    Currents in the Florida Straits:

    2m/s = 4.5mph

    click on the link 'MGSVA Seasonal Plots'
  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    Looks like the swim was aborted because of jellies. Chloe gave it an amazing go!
  • So sorry that Chloe had to end the swim. I hope that she is okay and recovers quickly. Congrats on 11 amazing hours of swimming.
  • pennypalfreypennypalfrey Seventeen Seventy, Queensland, AustraliaMem​ber
    It takes a huge amount of work to put a swim like this together, a vast amount of our personal resources and a lot of courage to attempt a swim of this magnitude. The Florida Straits are an amazing and challenging stretch of water which won't be crossed easily. I know firsthand just how painful and debilitating those stings can be. Chloe I wish you the best with your recovery, I’m happy you’re safe, and congratulations on your efforts.
  • that's a pity and all the best for your next attempt
  • smithsmith Huntsville, AlabamaSenior Member
    Extremely gutsy and admirable to try this under EC rules. With all the variables, however, this now doesn't really appear to be doable without a stinger suit for at least portions of the crossing.

    Looking forward to other attempts in safer waters by Chloe. Amazing swimmer.

    Keep moving forward.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I like this line from @chloemccardeldotcom's press conference as reported on DNOWS:

    "It's really important to me to stick to traditional marathon swimming, so most people just call it English Channel rules — bathers, goggles and cap.

    And what I went through kind of magnified and exemplified that it's not possible to swim those conditions in these waters," she said."

    Some swims will always be impossible and we should recognise that.. Great credit to Chloe and team.

  • Is there a link to the observer reports? I was wanting to read them.
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