Jessica-Jane Applegate camp is crossing fingers for Rio Paralympics selection
- Credit: Archant
Jessica-Jane Applegate's agonising wait to find out if she will be on the plane to Brazil is almost over.
The Paralympic hopeful from Burgh Castle met Great Britain's qualification criteria for Rio 2016 at April's British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow.
And while it appears she did enough at the event – which also served as Team GB's trial process for the Games – to be picked for September's showcase, the London 2012 gold medallist is still unsure of whether her name will be called when Team GB arrive at the departure lounge.
The 19-year-old's S14 200m freestyle time of two minutes, 5.63 seconds (2:05.63) on April 26 gave her the chance to defend the title she won in the English capital. Yet she will only know for certain if that opportunity will be granted when the squad for this autumn's extravaganza finally gets announced on Monday.
'I'm really pleased with how Jessica peformed in Glasgow, even if I know she would have liked to have gone faster,' said Applegate's coach Alex Pinniger, who works closely with the teenager who suffers with learning difficulties and was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at secondary school.
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'It was quite a stressful event where PBs (personal bests) were hard to come by across the board. Jessica burst onto the scene at London 2012 but when trying to get to a place in the team for another Paralympics, this time in Rio, is your number one goal then trying to qualify is going to be stressful experience for everyone.
'Jess got the qualifying standard and it was a massive relief to do that. It's early in the season so we still feel there's plenty more left in the tank for Rio if she gets selected.'
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Although she failed to produce a swim worthy of a nomination time in three other disciplines, doing so in her signature event means Applegate could appear in more than just one category in Brazil.
The City of Norwich member, who coaches youngsters at Great Yarmouth, narrowly missed out meeting the Rio qualifying times in the S14 100m backstroke and SM14 200m individual medley (IM) while her SB14 100m breaststroke efforts were aimed at aiding her IM progress.
'We are hopeful but all we can do is sit and wait to see what the selectors do,' said Pinniger, when asked if the Norfolk inspiration will appear at her second Paralympics between September 7-18 later this year.
'Jessica has done all she can do, which is meeting the qualifying standard. She can't do any more than that, she's done what she needed to do, and now it's out of our hands.'
With an initial April 29 date named for the release of the squad pushed back more than a fortnight, the Great Yarmouth-born swimmer was able to take her mind off playing a waiting game by competing at the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) European Open Championships in Portugal.
Silver medals in the S14 200m freestyle and S14 100m backstroke, plus a bronze in the S14 200m IM, added to Applegate's growing haul of major medals and showed, again, that she's a force to be reckoned with.
The Norwich City fan may perhaps consider making the final in the S14 100m breaststroke, an event she only started three years ago, as perhaps her most memorable experience from the Euros in Funchal – her fifth starring role at a major championship.