Australian swimmer McCardel breaks record with 44th Channel swim

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An Australian long-distance swimmer on Wednesday broke the world record for the most number of swims across the Channel between England and France.

Chloe McCardel, 36, made the swim for the 44th time, breaking the previous record of 43 she had held jointly with British swimmer Alison Streeter.

Wrapped in an Australian flag, she said: "I've been waiting a long time to celebrate this swim."

After setting off from the English coast in the early hours, she took around 10 hours to swim 21 miles (nearly 34 kilometres) and arrive at Pointe de la Courte Dune near Calais in France.

The Channel is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and as well as passing cargo ships and ferries, changing tides and waves can add extra distances for swimmers.

McCardel, who grew up in Melbourne but lives in Sydney, went ahead with her record-breaking swim despite writing on Facebook on Monday that she was "battling a chest infection".

Despite that, she said after the gruelling challenge that she felt "really good".

In August last year, McCardel passed the men's world record, held by Kevin Murphy, for the most Channel crossings with her 35th swim.

In 2016 she made the longest Marathon Swimmers Federation-approved unassisted solo ocean swim in history, covering 124 kilometres (77 miles) in the Bahamas.

"It's been a really tough journey, but I've persisted," she said after arriving in France on Wednesday.

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