Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Australian Chloë McCardel expects to dive into the Straits of Florida in an attempt to swim from Cuba to the shores of American within the next 24 hours if weather conditions remain favorable. The 28-year-old swimmer expects more than 60 hours swimming up to 170 kilometers across the waterway.

I’ve swum the English Channel, and that’s like climbing Everest,” McCardel said. “But swimming from Cuba to the US is five times as far, and I hope to be the first to do this without the use of a shark cage or wetsuit.”

Unlike the cold water swimming that McCardel experienced when undertaking any of her six crossings of the English Channel, the warmer waters of the Florida Straits will diminish the risk of hypothermia, but she will be exposed to sharks, stinging jellyfish and strong, unpredictable currents and eddies that could sweep her off-course towards the Bahamas…or elsewhere.

We’re employing some amazing ecologically sensitive shark repellent technology” she said. “I’m confident that the provisions put in place by my team of scientists, as well as those watching the ocean currents will get me across.” McCardel’s team is made up of 50 specialists working around the clock, including boat captains, support kayakers, observers, navigators, shark divers and feeders who prepare her food, a type of energy drink that will keep her sustained throughout the swim.

McCardel’s attempt is also raising funds for cancer research in Australia and the USA, with CanTeen, Can Assist and Swim Across America all benefiting from donations made via her website. “Cancer has affected my family, as it has affected families and individuals all around the world. I’m swimming for all those touched by cancer, and for those who commit their professional lives to searching for a cure.

Her possibly unprecedented progress can be watched via GPS tracking devices fitted to her support vessels, constantly updating on her website: www.chloemccardel.com. Regular updates are also available on her Facebook page. She is currently headquartered at the Hemingway Yacht Club in Havana Cuba under the hospitality of Commodore Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich.

NOTE: To find out what happened, McCardel’s explanation of her swim at her post-swim press conference is here.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association