PHOENIX, Arizona, June 12. THIS morning, Australian Chloe McCardel dove into the waters off the coast of Havana, Cuba, and began her quest to swim more than 100 miles nonstop to Florida. McCardel would be the first person to complete the swim unassisted if she makes it, and the 28-year-old has shown confidence that she can make it. In a recent press conference, McCardel talked about her motivation for doing the swim.
McCardel cannot make contact with anyone in the support boats and cannot rest during the swim. You may remember that Diana Nyad and Penny Palfrey made attempts to complete this swim in the past couple of years, but weather, marine life and/or personal afflictions kept them from reaching the goal. Susie Maroney is the only person to complete the swim, but she did it inside a shark cage in 1997.
In much safer waters earlier today was the Mare Nostrum meet in Barcelona, where once again Ruta Meilutyte was the star of the show. She came within one hundredth of a second of breaking her own European record of 1:05.20 with a 1:05.21. Also swimming well in her home country was Mireia Belmonte Garcia, who won the 200 fly and 400 free. Her 200 fly time of 2:08.88 was a little bit shy of the top 10 world rankings, and she wasn't far off her best 400 free of the season, winning with a 4:05.99. Roland Schoeman, who trains here in Phoenix, won the 50 free with a 22.18 in his preparation for a seventh world championships appearance.
While the participants in the Mare Nostrum tour hop onto a bus to travel to Canet for the final leg of the series, the Sette Colli meet gets underway tomorrow in Italy. This is the 50th year of the event, and it will feature some well-known names. Daniel Gyurta, the 200 breast Olympic champion, will lead a small Hungarian team that will include multiple Olympic medalist Laszlo Cseh. Brazil will have a large team as well, including Olympic silver medalist Thiago Pereira and NCAA finalist Marcelo Chierighini. The women's 400 free will feature some heavyweights, including local heroine and world record holder Federica Pellegrini, Olympic champion Camille Muffat and Olympic finalists Coralie Balmy and Lotte Friis. We'll bring you coverage of the meet on swimmingworld.com.
The men's water polo world league tournament is underway, and the United States has won its first two matches against Hungary and Japan, though not convincingly. The Americans had to win a shootout to beat Hungary 15-14, while Japan led for the first three quarters until a rally by the United States gave them a 13-12 victory. Group play continues through Friday, with the tournament winner determined on Sunday.