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Barnoldswick woman completes ambition to swim English Channel
11:00am Sunday 19th August 2012 in Skipton & District
As British Olympians notched up their medals in London, Jo Norton-Barker was already celebrating her sporting triumph.
The 42-year-old of Ambleside Avenue, Barnoldswick , completed her lifetime’s ambition to swim the English Channel, a feat of endurance she completed in 16 hours and 54 minutes.
Jo, a systems accountant, said: “I might not have got a gold medal, but it feels like one to me.”
When she eventually arrived at Wissant, near Calais, after an epic struggle against the tide, she was elated.
“When I felt that sand between my toes I just ran up the beach, my hands in the air and screaming my head off - I scared a little French lady walking her dog,“ said Jo, a member of the British Long Distance Swimming Association, Warrington Dolphins and Craven Energy.
It was the end of a journey which started at 3am and saw her caught in the outgoing tide as she approached the French shore.
“At one point I started to doubt whether I could keep going, but my support swimmer Michaela Richard jumped in and I thought if I can keep up with her for a while I could get through the tide.”
Also on board the pilot vessel, which accompanies all Channel swimmers, was her fiancé Mick Blackburn.
“I couldn’t have done this without the support of so many people - I want to thank them all.
“It is the culmination of a lifelong ambition after I read about Captain Webb, the first person to swim the channel, when I was small,” said Jo, who has swum other open water challenges, including Windermere.