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Just keep swimming! Dereham woman completes Triple Crown with swims across English Channel and in LA and New York

PUBLISHED: 09:56 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:17 16 August 2017

Julie Isbill, 44, has completed the 'triple crown' open water swimming challenge. Photo: Joan Isbill

Julie Isbill, 44, has completed the 'triple crown' open water swimming challenge. Photo: Joan Isbill

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A woman from Dereham has become the 150th person to complete an extreme open water swimming challenge.

Julie, who grew up in Dereham, used to swim for the Dereham Otters team as a child. Photo: Joan IsbillJulie, who grew up in Dereham, used to swim for the Dereham Otters team as a child. Photo: Joan Isbill

Dr. Julie Isbill, 43, who now lives in Australia, has completed the ‘triple crown’ in open water swimming.

To achieve the award she had to swim, without a wetsuit, across the English Channel, the Catalina Channel in LA, and around Manhattan Island, in New York.

Julie grew up in the Dereham area, and attended Dereham Sixth Form college, before moving to Australia aged 24. She studied medicine in Australia, and now works as a doctor, after graduating in December 2016.

Julie’s love of swimming comes from a young age, and as a child she swam for the Dereham Otters.

Julie was inspired to take up the sport after the loss of her father, who used to swim for England. Photo: Joan IsbillJulie was inspired to take up the sport after the loss of her father, who used to swim for England. Photo: Joan Isbill

She said: “I learnt to swim after my father passed away, when I was six years old. My father swam for England when he was young.

“I went to swim lessons, and then soon moved onto the squad, hence the Dereham Otters, until I went to boarding school, aged 12.

“I have always swum, mostly in the pool in England and got into open water, and ocean swimming in Australia, which I love.”

Julie has completed many long-distance swims in her new home, including swimming to Rottnest Island, 20km off Perth, in Western Australia 15 times

Julie, aged 5, on holiday in Jersey, shortly before joining the Otters. Photo: Joan IsbillJulie, aged 5, on holiday in Jersey, shortly before joining the Otters. Photo: Joan Isbill

Other long-distance swims include Bondi to Watson’s Bay in Sydney and Sydney Harbour Bridge to Manly.

She also founded ‘Bold and Beautiful’ swim squad, in Manly, which is a voluntary daily ocean swim group. Set up around nine years ago, it now has more than 15,000 members.

Julie said: “I love the open water, and all it has to offer, and I enjoy the challenges of channel swims.

“The cold, the rough, the distance or the dark, whatever it has to offer on the day. There’s something special about being in another creatures territory.

“I find it tranquil - most of the time, beautiful, relaxing. There’s a unique sense you feel in open water, floating free in the sea.

“Not to mention the amazing people you get to share it with. The day is definitely always better if it’s starts with a swim.”

Julie thanked her friends for their support, saying: There is nothing solo about these solo marathon swims, they take an army of dedicated, wonderful friends to make them possible”.

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