NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Dehydrated and exhausted, Australian swimmer Chloe McCardel successfully completed a 78-mile (126-kilometer) swim Wednesday between two islands in the Bahamas.
McCardel's support team says the 42 ½ hour effort is the longest open-water solo, continuous marathon swim in history, though such claims come with complications. The Marathon Swimmers Federation says it is difficult to compare marathon swims because of varying currents and other factors, including the fact that some previous efforts were not well documented.
McCardel, a 29-year-old athlete from Melbourne, set out from the southern tip of Eleuthera island and reached the capital of Nassau at about 1 a.m. local time. She made the attempt under rules that included not being permitted to intentionally touch her support boat or hold on to anything.
Upon reaching Nassau, she was escorted by her husband, Paul McQueeney, and support crew for a medical examination. She plans to remain in the Bahamas until she is rested enough to travel.
"I know she will take some time to recover from this massive achievement which she has spent her entire swimming career preparing for," said McQueeney, who travelled alongside her on the support boat.
The longest nonstop, solo open-water swims have been in rivers and benefited from significant assistance from currents, so they are not comparable to ocean swims, said Evan Morrison, co-founder of the Marathon Swimmers Federation.
The longest previous nonstop solo non-current-assisted swim is believed to be by Zhang Jian, who claims to have swum 76.5 miles (123 kilometers) in Bohai Bay, China, but Morrison said there is some uncertainty because the feat was not well-documented.
A panel from the federation will review the documentation from McCardel's swim and decide whether it should be ratified as a record, he said.
Guinness World Records lists Veljko Rogosic as holder of the record for the longest ocean swim, a 140-mile (225-kilometer) journey through the Adriatic in 2006.
But Morrison said there is little documentation about that swim, and it was likely aided by strong, predictable Adriatic currents, and so is not comparable.