Pinniger’s pride at another golden memory for Jessica-Jane Applegate
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Jessica-Jane Applegate's coach admits even he continues to be surprised by the swimming sensation's brilliance.
The Paralympic champion added another gold medal to her glittering haul in the early hours of yesterday by winning the women's 200m freestyle S14 at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Swimming Championships in Montreal, Canada.
As if that wasn't already good enough, the Norfolk teenager – who has Asperger's syndrome – also smashed her own world record of two minutes, 11.47 seconds in the process – finishing the race in 2.09:88.
Alex Pinniger stayed up until 1.30am to watch the 16-year-old's final and believes it was her finest accomplishment to date.
The City of Norwich coach said: 'I always get nervous before a big final but she is a very, very consistent swimmer. That's kind of the big issue for swimmers in her classification.
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'With that type of learning disability there can be big inconsistencies in swimmers' performances. If they get nervous or excited they can pace their race wrong. But Jessica is just able to stay relaxed, calm, and she has a race strategy that she sticks to. It's the kind of thing that helps her win the big finals.
'She just goes from strength to strength and she just never fails to amaze me. It's just incredible that that she's still only 16. I think this is her greatest success yet.'
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Applegate, from Belton, near Gorleston, was fourth at the halfway mark but stormed to victory beating her nearest rival Bethany Firth by more than two seconds.
Pinniger says the Great Britain international is 'over the moon' at her latest success and stayed in contact with her, as did her mother Dawn, until 3.30am after her victory.
With the teen competing in a country without at least one of the pair beside her, Applegate's mentor insists her glory is even more impressive as a result.
'This is the first time she's ever really competed away, without myself or her mum. She's still only 16. It's a big deal and she did really well to come through that and do what she did,' said Pinniger.
'When I started coaching her two years ago even a weekend away in Bath at a training camp was incredibly stressful for her. But as she's improved so much she's been exposed more and more and more.
'There's a lot of challenges that come with it. A lot of preparation went into Canada. She has schedules and sleep times. But once she has a routine she knows exactly what she's doing and goes to strength from strength.
'We had two main goals for the season. For Jessica to dip under the two minute 10 second barrier – and to qualify for the able-bodied nationals. She's done both and she's hit all of her targets. I'm absolutely ecstatic.'
Norfolk's golden girl had the morning off yesterday before going for a swim in the early evening as she prepares for her next competition.
Applegate will compete in today's 100m backstroke, an event in which she finished fourth at the Paralympics, before taking to the pool in Sunday's 200m individual medley – a new event for the star after she learned how to swim breaststroke in September.