Chloё McCardel to attempt the Longest Solo, Unassisted Open Water Swim - MSF Rules



  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited October 2014
    An update for the Forum community, via @paulm:

    A quick update- Paul here on Chloe's behalf. She has been readmitted to Hospital today- and is expected to be in there for 3-4 nights. Chloe got stung close to 15 times on night 1 of the swim and a large number of those stings got sunburn on day 2. Despite treatment post swim a number of these stings have become infected and are weeping. Chloe is in a lot of pain but still on a very positive mental high from the swim and everyone's amazing support.

    Wishing Chloe a very speedy recovery. I'm sure many here are familiar with the physical trauma of even a standard channel swim... now imagine nearly 4x the distance, jellies, and sunburn....
  • gregocgregoc Charter Member
    evmo wrote: »
    now imagine nearly 4x the distance, jellies, and sunburn....

    @evmo, I can't. I'm really trying, but I just can't.
  • NedNed Charter Member
    I am so happy and relieved that our sport can celebrate an incredible swim...without all the drama of Cuba.
  • MvGMvG MauritiusCharter Member
    Bump. Nothing to add, just putting Chloe on top of the list again. Let's keep her there for a while.
  • pavlicovpavlicov NYC USASenior Member
    I just want to wish Chloe speedy recovery and I hope her wounds heal fast. What she achieved is amazing and very well documented. She deserves the spotlight on the forum.
  • Hi MSF swimmers & supporters!

    Thanks for everyone's support of this World Record Attempt. Thanks especially to David Barra and Brianne Yeates for their thorough observation work. I have lots of positive things I would love to share about this swim and experience but I will wait until the swim is officially ratified by the MSF before commenting in more detail on this forum :) In the interim... As the back of the swim t-shirt said "TEAM MCCARDEL" this swim is about how this incredible team came together to give me the opportunity to create this WORLD RECORD. So please enjoy this awesome video put together by our amazing Head of Safety Andy Olday ENJOY & feel free to share :) As fellow MSF members you were all part of this journey too! Regards, Chloe & Paul
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited November 2014
    An epic swim deserves epic documentation.

    Congratulations, Chloё -- and well done, @david_barra
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    evmo wrote: »
    An epic swim deserves epic documentation.

    Congratulations, Chloё -- and well done, @david_barra

    It was an honor to represent the MSF and bear witness to this swim!

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • edited November 2014
    I was asked by Donal & Evan whether I wanted to submit a 'Swimmer Statement' for the official MSF page created for my recent WR Bahamas swim - here it is :)

    Swimmer Statement

    Paul and I originally reached out to Donal and Evan in the months after the MSF was formed via email and mentioned that we felt there needed to be a standardised format for recognising swims such as ‘World Record’ distance attempts and ‘First Swims’ because there was no current organisation which effectively fitted this role and we also felt there was currently the opportunity for a small number of individuals to exploit marathon swimming by making fake swim claims for their own selfish means and to the detriment of the sport. We knew this would be a Herculean task to undertake but we also knew that Donal and Evan were quickly gaining the support and backing of a large cross-section of the marathon swimming community and if anyone were capable of doing this - they were! We had no idea they were thinking the same thing but we were very happy when they formed (along with a group of others) the MSF Rules and were very impressed by the thorough and definitive rules which were created not only for unassisted swims but also for assisted swims where there was no local swimming governing authority to recognise the swim.

    Because Paul and I whole-heartedly believed in the MSF Rules it was only natural that we adopted them for my World Record Swim. As I was attempting my swim under the ‘unassisted’ category I was naturally exposing myself to whatever Mother Nature had in store for me. This has been a question frequently put to me – “Was it worth it?” (e.g. worth the sunburn and jellyfish stings to swim in the ‘unassisted’ category)? In fact, I was asked post-swim by an Indian journalist when considering the 15 jellyfish who stung me (it is assumed they are sea wasps –a type of Box Jelly Fish, but the actual species is not known) and extensive second degree burns “Would you do it again under the same rules?” and of course my answer was “Yes, I would do it again in a heart-beat because it was very important to me to achieve an unassisted World Record for this swim”.

    The jelly-fish venom did drop my core temperature but, fortunately, due to the warm water, warm air temperature and warmed feeds my crew and I were able to manage this. Of course the stings were extremely painful, but I was able to manage this because of my high tolerance for pain and pain-killers. The biggest health issue was actually the sun burn – it was extensive and already creating welts/blisters during the swim which only got worse post swim. I believe if I had the same jelly fish stings and only minor sunburn I would only have required one day of hospitalisation rather than 5 days.

    Commercially available sunscreen does not yet cater for the requirements of marathon swimming for swims beyond 4 – 8 hours. This is an area which improvements in sunscreen technology would easily make ultra-marathon swimming safer. I believe it is only a matter of time before a type of sunscreen or other product (potentially taken orally) is created which addresses this issue. Hopefully some entrepreneurial person can create an applicator to assist a swimmer to reapply sunscreen whilst immersed in the water and without touching the boat, or another person or being touched or makes a sunscreen which can last 24hrs+. I do not believe that stinger/body suits are necessary to complete ultra-marathons in tropical waters – I have proven that with my recent 124.4km World Record Swim in the Bahamas. If people argue that it would have been safer to wear a body suit which covered nearly my whole body for this swim than I would say “Yes, but just because it makes the swim safer doesn’t mean that it is necessary or the desired option”.

    It would be much safer to wear wetsuits whilst swimming the English Channel as most swimmers will suffer a degree of hypothermia even to the point of causing a heart-attack. I myself have had dangerously low, life-threatening, core temperatures whilst swimming the English Channel during multiple crossing attempts, due to the cold water and air temperatures and from only wearing one pair of bathers as per English Channel rules. On one occasion I dropped into a semi-conscious state inhaling sea water which caused Pulmonary Edema and Pneumonia. I personally believe multiple English Channel crossing attempts under ‘unassisted’ rules are more ‘risky’ to one’s health than ‘unassisted’ tropical swims of the same distance.

    Open water swimmers understand the risks before partaking in an event and if they wish to minimise these risks they can choose to enlist in an ‘assisted’ swim category and have it categorised accordingly or if they wish to be even safer they could just go and compete in pool swimming events! I don’t believe there is anything negative about completing an ‘assisted’ swim as long as you follow the rules for that category and you declare your rules in advance. People are not drawn to marathon swimming because it is easy and safe they are drawn to it as they have a strong desire to overcome difficult challenges both personally and against Mother Nature.

    Paul and I are very proud to be associated with the MSF. Credibility, transparency and accountability are very important to us and we feel very lucky that my swim occurred after the creation of the MSF Rules as the MSF is an organisation which is highly reputable and at the forefront of international marathon swimming in the 21st century. We hope that my recent swim along with the other well documented MSF swims have raised the bar for swimmers in the future who wish to undertake World Record Attempts for Distance or First Swims as either 'assisted' or 'unassisted' swims undertaken where there is no local governing open water swimming authority.

    As the MSF Rules become quickly and widely adopted we hope that swimmers and the media naturally ask this question where relevant “Why did a swimmer claim a record without going through the MSF or the local governing open water swimming authority?". Hopefully the bar has been set and only time will tell how future record attempt swimmers will approach their swims - but I implore everyone for the betterment of our sport to promote, support and where applicable utilise the MSF Rules so that not only the swimming community but also the media and the general public become better educated as to the expectations and standards of our sport.

    On another note, many thanks to David Barra and Brianne Yeates our official observers for generously giving their time and expertise, a HUGE THANKS to Paul and the entire support crew and land crew teams who invested so much energy and time to enable this swim to go ahead under MSF Rules. I would also like it to be noted that Paul and I specifically sort out a course which did not offer current assistance as this would have triggered my swim to be categorised in the ‘assisted’ category.

    Chloë McCardel
    World Record Holder - Longest Solo Unassisted Marathon Swim
    7x English Channel Swimmer (3x Single & 2x Double Solo Crossings)
    2013 - 2015 Ambassador Big Bay Swim (VIC)
    Marathon Swimmer / Coach / Keynote Speaker / Ambassador
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    What an incredible achievement! Congratulations! As a neophyte in longer swims, I'm in awe! And hearing of the kind of sacrifices you made to ensure that your swim followed the rules, I have HUGE respect for your integrity. I'm sorry that you were in such pain, yet also beyond impressed that you could perservere in the face of it. In my swims (lots, lots shorter than yours), I will remember this and as long as I'm capable of doing so, will persist. My goal is 8 miles (2 years away), and if you can hold on for 70something miles, I can hang in for 8. Congratulations again!
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