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Water baby, 64, leads team across Channel

Open water swimmer Joan led a team of four across the English Channel

Open water swimmer Joan led a team of four across the English Channel

A pensioner who has been swimming since the age of nine led a team of four across the Channel in under 15 hours.

Joan Metcalfe headed the relay team of three men and one woman across the notoriously busy shipping lane in 14 hours and 43 minutes.

Joan – an Observer Liaison Officer for the Channel Swimming Association since 1998– launched herself into the sea off the coast of Dover at 1.30am on Wednesday morning.

She and her team swam part of the 22-mile route through the night before the fivesome came ashore just east of Cap Griz Nez at 4pm the next day.

Joan who lives with husband of 43 years Brian in Hazell Avenue, Aylesbury, said: “We wanted to do it in under 15 hours, so we’re quite happy with that.”

She is no stranger to open water, having done the Channel swim several times before, and earlier this year she led the first ever paraplegic team across the famous stretch.

The 64-year-old only dipped her toe back in the water last year after ‘retiring’ in 1993, and she is now a familiar face at Aqua Vale – training there four mornings a week.

She said: “I took it up because I wasn’t the right shape for sprinting, and there’s just something about it.

“It’s great when it’s rough – I’m more at home in the water than I am on dry land.”

 

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