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Australian swimmer becomes English Channel record breaker

Australian swimmer becomes English Channel record breaker

Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel has broken the men's record for the number swims across the English Channel and been assured she hasn't fallen foul of UK-France quarantine rules.

The 35-year-old from Melbourne took 10 hours and 40 minutes to complete the 33.7km crossing after setting off from a beach in Kent on Saturday.

It was McCardel's 35th swim across the Channel - eclipsing the number set by Briton Kevin Murphy - but still shy of the all-time record of 43 held by Englishwoman Alison Streeter.

"I'm in great spirits," McCardel said.

"It's such a joyous thing to be able to surpass the record and move to second spot on the list of most Channel crossings.

"It's a very momentous occasion and I'm very proud to be able to represent Australia."

McCardel had feared she may have to spend 14 days in self-isolation after arriving in Calais with UK government protocols coming into effect at 4am on Sunday (1300 AEST).

But UK and French coastguards have given her the all-clear and was advised by the Channel Swimming Association her swim could go ahead.

"We don't go anywhere near the border officials or passport control, so I'm hoping technically the quarantine thing won't apply," she said.

McCardel said there was little risk of coming into contact with someone in France because her swims usually end in an area of boulders in Calais.

"I usually finish where there are large boulders and it's inaccessible to people on land because you can't walk through the boulders. There's no sand," she said.

"I would like to have a little celebration this evening in England. I'm extremely lucky to be surrounded by so much love and support, from my English host to my support boat captains and crew.

"I'm excited to celebrate this achievement together with them.

McCardel already negotiated special dispensation from the Australian government to travel to the UK for her record attempt.

She hopes her latest feat can help to raise awareness about domestic violence, revealing that she is a survivor who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I've also been thinking a lot about the people in lockdown, particularly women facing domestic violence, and I'm proud to be able to be a voice for those who don't have one," she said.

McCardel holds multiple records for endurance swimming, including the longest ratified unassisted ocean swim in 2014, when she covered 124.4km in 41.5 hours in the waters around the Bahamas.