Swimmer hopes quarantine rules do not apply on return from Channel crossing

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An endurance swimmer looking to break the men’s record for the number of English Channel crossings is hoping the UK Government does not scupper her post-challenge celebrations.

Chloe McCardel, 35, is due to leave British shores at around 10am on Sunday, arriving in Calais around 10 hours and 21 miles (34km) later.

It would be her 35th successful Channel crossing, passing the men’s record of 34 held by British athlete Kevin Murphy.

The Australian said she will spend less than 10 minutes on French soil, and is hoping she will not have to quarantine when she returns to Dover with her support crew later that evening.

It follows an announcement on Thursday evening that people arriving in the UK from France after 4am on Saturday will be required to spend 14 days in self-isolation due to rising numbers of coronavirus cases across the Channel.

Ms McCardel told the PA news agency: “I have made some inquiries about what happens when I get to France.

“We don’t go anywhere near the border officials or passport control, so I’m hoping technically the quarantine thing won’t apply.

“I’ve got a little celebration planned in England with the support crew, the team, the volunteers who have been so supportive throughout this.

“So I am hoping the Government allow us to do that without having to quarantine.”

Ms McCardel was given special dispensation from Australian authorities to travel to the UK to complete three Channel crossings in recent weeks, taking her level with Mr Murphy.

The Melbourne-raised athlete still has some way to go until she reaches the record of 43 crossings set by English swimmer Alison Streeter.

But instead of thinking about the next target, Ms McCardel said she will spend the swim focusing on women trapped in abusive relationships.

Endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel
Endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel is aiming for her 35th Channel crossing (Jason Kelvin/PA)

“During lockdown people have been told to stay at home, but that is the worst place for someone suffering domestic violence can be.

“So it will be going through my head a lot.”

Ms McCardel also said she has been made acutely aware of the privilege of being able to swim across the Channel for pleasure, while so many refugees are making the perilous journey to the UK in search of a better life.

She said: “On my last swim we actually had to divert because the coastguard was pulling people out of the water.

“I think it’s a luxury for me to be able to swim the Channel when so many people are trying to get out of a dangerous situation.

“I have the chance to have dreams and go chase them when others are struggling to get to dry land.”

Ms McCardel holds multiple world records for endurance swimming including the longest ever unassisted ocean swim in the Bahamas in 2014.

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