Third time lucky for Jessica-Jane Applegate as she clinches gold at IPC Swimming World Championships

Norfolks golden girl, Jessica-Jane Applegate. Photo: Nick Butcher

Norfolks golden girl, Jessica-Jane Applegate. Photo: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Jessica-Jane Applegate saved her best for last as she ended a fantastic world championships on a stunning high.

Norfolk's swimming superstar had already collected two silver medals at one of the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) flagship events in Scotland going into yesterday's final day. But the 18-year-old went one better when she surprised even her coach Alex Pinniger by clinching a stunning gold in the women's S14 100m backstroke.

The City of Norwich UEA chief had stated Applegate 'was not expected to be up there' going into the discipline. Yet he still remained confident the inspiration from Belton, near Gorleston, could add to her double medal haul. At the half-way point, Jessica was 0.71secs behind Russian Valeriia Shabalina – the woman who pipped her to first place in both the SM14 200m IM (individual medley) and 200m freestyle S14 categories. However, Applegate was not to be denied this time as she powered past her counterpart to triumph by 0.05secs.

A delighted Pinniger wrote on Twitter: 'Great job @jessica_jane96 #Glasgow2015 – 3 events, 1 x gold, 2 x silver, 5 PBs #smashedit'.

The latest success of Applegate, who won a gold at the London Paralympics in 2012 and was awarded an MBE following her success, was even more remarkable considering she finished behind Shabalina in the heats.

The 20-year-old touched the boards 0.65secs ahead of the eventual champion from Nelson's County – who has Aspergers syndrome.

Applegate's time in that heat of one minute 08.13secs was just the warm up for a sublime 1:06.75 in the battle for the medals which saw her claim top spot on the podium after a couple of near misses.

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The teenager's excellent showings underline her continuing improvement as she builds towards next year's Rio Paralympics.

British swimming's official Twitter feed congratulated their starlet's success by posting: 'GOLD! After two silvers, @jessica_jane96 snatches her first gold of #Glasgow2015, taking it by 0.05 seconds in a PB 1:06.75.'

One user named @catchy40 said the golden girl's heroics had left her 'shouting all the way' and 'in tears (of joy) at the end'.

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