Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

29-year-old Chloë McCardel is accompanied by Dave Barra and Brianne Yeates of the Marathon Swimmers Federation on today’s 127 km (78.9-mile) ocean swim attempt in the Bahamas. So far, she is flying fast as she has averaged 3.4 km per hour over the first 16 hours of her swim according to Evan Morrison of the Marathon Swimmers Federation.

McCardel’s attempt from the southern tip of Eleuthera to Montague Beach at Nassau in the Bahamas is being covered by Channel Seven Australia, her television media partner present on her escort boat. Her progress can be observed virtually here.

McCardel announced that if she is successful as is expected based on her current pace and conditions, she will complete the longest solo, continuous, unassisted marathon swim in open water in history. In her press announcements, it is not specific whose record she is breaking. Typically, in a acknowledgement of one’s predecessors, the current record holder is mentioned in press releases. So we wondered, “What other open water swims have been comparable to McCardel’s 127 km (78.9-mile) ocean swim attempt?”

There have been several longer river swims, but these have been in freshwater and downstream so the conditions and venues are not comparable:

* John Sigmund (USA) 292 miles (470 km) down the Mississippi River (Missouri, USA) in 1940 in 89 hours 46 minutes
* Charles Zibelman (USA) 288 miles (463 km) downstream in the Hudson River (USA) in 1938 in 74 hours 0 minutes
* Abdul Latif Abou Heif (Egypt) 285 miles (458 km) downstream in River de la Plata (Argentina) in 1970 in 60 hours 0 minutes
* Pedro A Candiotti (Argentina) 281 miles (452 km) downstream in River de la Plata (Argentina) in 1935 in 84 hours 0 minutes
* Pedro A Candiotti (Argentina) 211 miles (339 km) downstream in River de la Plata (Argentina) in 1931 in 71 hours 55 minutes
* Pedro A Candiotti (Argentina) 210 miles (337 km) downstream in River de la Plata (Argentina) in 1930 in 66 hours 15 minutes
* Pedro A Candiotti (Argentina) 205 miles (330 km) downstream in River de la Plata (Argentina) in 1943 in 74 hours 30 minutes
* Imre Szenasi (Hungary) 136 miles (219 km) in the River Tisza (Romania) in 1962 in 44 hours 50 minutes
* Batista Pereira (Portugal) 128 miles (206 km) down the Tejo River (Portugal) in 1959 in 28 hours 43 minutes
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia) 86.3 miles (139 km) down the Sava River, Serbia in 1992 in 36 hours 30 minutes
* Skip Storch (USA) 85.5 miles (137 km) in a triple circumnavigation around Manhattan Island (New York, USA) in 2007 in 32 hours 52 minutes
* Imre Szenasi (Hungary) 81 miles (130 km) in the River Tisza (Romania) in 1969 in 41 hours 40 minutes

Long sea swims are as follows:

* Penny Palfrey (Australia) 67.2 miles (108 km) from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands) in 2011 in 40 hours 41 minutes
* Alison Streeter MBE (UK) 63 miles (101.3 km) in a three-way crossing of the English Channel (England-France) in 1990 in 34 hours 40 minutes
* Philip Rush (New Zealand) 63 miles 101.3 km) in a three-way crossing of the English Channel (England-France) in 1987 in 28 hours 21 minutes
* Jon Erikson (USA) 63 miles (101.3 km) in a three-way crossing of the English Channel (England-France) in 1981 in 38 hours 27 minutes
* Kevin Murphy (UK) 56 miles (90 km) around the Isle of Wight (UK) in 1971 in 26 hours 51 minutes
* Michael Read MBE (UK) 56 miles (90 km) around the Isle of Wight (UK) in 1973 in 24 hours 36 minutes
* Alison Streeter MBE (UK) 56 miles (90 km) around the Isle of Wight (UK) in 1984 in 21 hours 2 minutes
* Anna Wardley (UK) 56 miles (90 km) around the Isle of Wight (UK) in 2013 in 26 hours 33 minutes
* Otto Kemmerich (Germany) 50 miles (81 km) across Danzig in the Baltic Sea in 1928 in 43 hours 30 minutes
* Alper Sunaçoğlu (Turkey) 48.4 miles (78 km) from Turkey to Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea in 2010 in 26 hours 15 minutes
* Sean O’Connell (Bermuda) 47 miles (75 km) around Bermuda in 1977 in 43 hours 27 minutes

Long bay, canal and lake swims are as follows:

* Zhang Jian (China) 76.5 miles (123 km) in Bohai Bay (China) in 2000 in 50 hours 22 minutes
* Vicki Keith (Canada) 64 miles (103 km) in a two-way crossing of Lake Ontario (Canada) in 1987 in 56 hours 10 minutes
* Abdul Latif Abou Heif (Egypt) 60 miles (96.5 km) in Lake Michigan (Illinois, USA) in 1963 in 34 hours 38 minutes
* Ted Erikson (USA) 60 miles (96.5 km) in Lake Michigan (Illinois, USA) in 1963 in 37 hours 31 minutes
* Yuko Matsuzaki (Japan) 51.5 miles (83 km) in Lake Cane (Florida, USA) in 2008 in 33 hours 24 minutes
* Mihir Sen (India) 51 miles (82 km) across the Panama Canal (Pacific-Atlantic Oceans) in 1966 in 35 hours 30 minutes
* Sarah Thomas (USA) 50 miles (80.4 km) in a two-way crossing of Lake Memphremagog (Canada-USA) in 2013 in 30 hours 1 minute
* Vicki Keith (Canada) 49.8 miles (80.2 km, all butterfly) crossing of Lake Ontario (Canada) in 2005 in 63 hours 40 minutes
* Vicki Keith (Canada) 48 miles (77.2 km) in Lake Huron (USA-to-Canada) in 1988 in 46 hours 55 minutes
* Kevin Murphy (UK) 48 miles (77.2 km in Lake Balaton (Hungary) in 1973 in 43 hours 15 minutes
* Vicki Keith (Canada) 45 miles (72 km) in Lake Michigan (Illinois, USA) in 1988 in 52 hours 45 minutes

Long ocean swims include the following:

* Tina Neill (USA) 52 miles (km) from San Clemente Island to California (USA) in 2012 in 28 hours 41 minutes
* Cindy Cleveland (USA) 48 miles (77 km) in a circumnavigation around Catalina Island (California, USA) in 1979 in 34 hours 24 minutes
* Forrest Nelson (USA) 48 miles (77 km) in a circumnavigation around Catalina Island (California, USA) in 2011 in 25 hours 35 minutes

Two sea swims have been reportedly longer, but these have only been acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records:

* Veljko Rogošić (Croatia) 139.8 miles (225 km) across the Adriatic Sea in Italy in 2006 in 50 hours 10 minutes
* Martin Strel (Slovenia) 100 miles (162 km) from Lignano to Ravenna in the Adriatic Sea (Italy) in 1994 in 55 hours 11 minutes

According to the widely respected marathon swimmer and governing body president Scott Zornig, when McCardel is successful, she will break Penny Palfrey‘s historic world record swim of 67.2 miles (108 km) in Cayman Islands, performed in 2011 in 40 hours 41 minutes.

If the record is passed from Australian swimmer to Australian swimmer as expected later today, the athletes from Down Under will again demonstrate their excellence in the open water.

The remaining part of McCardel’s swim can be tracked here.





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