Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel successfully completed a 78-mile swim between two islands in the Bahamas on Wednesday. It took her 42.5 hours, which her support team says is the longest solo open-water continuous marathon swim in history.
According to the Associated Press, the 29-year-old McCardel set out on Monday from the southern tip of Eleuthera and made it to Nassau at 1 a.m. local time. For her attempt to qualify as a marathon swim under the Marathon Swimmer Federation (MSF) rules, the Melbourne native could not intentionally touch her support boat at any point during the trip. Once she reached Nassau, McCardel was taken in for a medical examination. She plans to stay in the Bahamas while she recuperates from the swim.
“I know she will take some time to recover from this massive achievement, which she has spent her entire swimming career preparing for,” said her husband, Paul McQueeney, in a statement. “She is elated at successfully setting this record in this way, and a very, very proud Australian.”
McCardel attempted to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage in June 2013 but had to call it off when she ran into a swarm of jellyfish, according to Zee News.
Some debate remains over what counts as the longest solo marathon swim. Evan Morrison, co-founder of the MSF, told the AP that technically the longest nonstop open-water swims have been in rivers, where swimmers benefited from having the current at their backs. However, he says those are not comparable to ocean swims like McCardel’s.
The previous non-current-assisted record holder would have been Zhang Jian, but her 76.5-mile swim in China’s Bohai Bay is not well documented. Veljko Rogosic is listed in Guinness World Records as having the longest ocean swim at 140 miles through the Adriatic in 2006, but again, Morrison told the AP that there is little documentation about that swim, and Rogosic likely would have had help from a strong, predictable current.