Paralympics Gold for Norfolk swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate
10:56 03 September 2012
Norfolk’s Jessica-Jane Applegate swam a perfectly controlled race yesterday to claim Paralympics GB’s third gold medal in the pool with victory in the S14 200 metres freestyle.
Applegate, who turned 16 less than a fortnight ago, had qualified fastest after breaking her own British record in the morning.
In the final the Great Yarmouth swimmer was fourth at the halfway stage before making a move on the third length and was in the bronze medal position with 50m to go.
Jessica-Jane, who competes for the City of Norwich club, then produced a storming final length to overhaul her rivals and was pulling further ahead when she touched in two minutes 12.63 seconds.
Applegate had an operation on her foot a month ago, putting her participation in doubt.
Not only did she compete but her time was a Paralympic record.
“I’m just so happy,” she said. “It means so much. I just want to thank my mum and my family and everyone who’s supported me. I’m on cloud nine at the moment.”
Asked how she came back to win, she said: “I really have no idea.”
Victory sees Applegate join Ellie Simmonds and Jonathan Fox as Britain’s gold medallists at the Aquatics Centre.
Applegate, who had already come fourth in the 100m backstroke, added: “I am ecstatic, I really didn’t think I could do something like that.
“At the last turn I could see how far ahead they were and I knew I had to give everything I had. It was my last race so I knew it didn’t matter if I collapsed at the bottom of the pool, it’s fine.”
In the men’s equivalent, Daniel Pepper and Ben Procter finished seventh and eighth respectively.
Pepper and Procter had qualified fourth and fifth prompting hopes of gatecrashing the podium.
However, the pace was blistering and resulted in Jon Margeir Sverrisson setting a new world record of 1:59.62, with the first three men all dipping under two minutes.
James Clegg picked up Britain’s second medal of the night in the S12 100m butterfly when he took bronze.
The 18-year-old touched out in a close finish to claim third in 1:00.00 after turning at the halfway point in fifth.
Hannah Russell picked up a bronze in the women’s equivalent in the very next race. The 16-year-old, who won silver in the S12 400m freestyle earlier in the competition, was third at the halfway point. While Carla Casals momentarily threatened to eat into the Briton’s lead, Russell held firm to touch in 1:08.57.