An ultra-marathon swimmer from Australia began her attempt a record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida Wednesday morning.
Chloe McCardel entered the water at 9:59 a.m. Havana time. She has been training for the past nine months to swim the approximately 100-miles across the Florida Straits without using a shark cage or wet suit.
The 28-year-old has already made six swims across the English Channel. The Cuba-to-Florida swim could take as long as 60 hours.
"I’ve swum the English Channel, and that’s like climbing Everest," McCardel said in a statement Tuesday. "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 wet suit."
McCardel has a team of 50 specialists working around the clock to support her including boat captains, observers, navigators and divers to keep sharks away.
"We're employing some amazing ecologically sensitive shark repellent technology" McCardel 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."
In addition to the sharks, McCardel will have to deal with stinging jelly fish and strong currents that could sweep her off course.
Several attempts have been made for an unassisted Cuba-to-Florida swim, most notably by swimmer Diana Nyad, who failed to complete the trek in four attempts.
McCardel is raising funds through her swim for cancer research with CanTeen, Can Assist and Swim Across America. Her progress will be updated and can be tracked at www.chloemccardel.com.