East coast swimmers land gold for Paralympics GB at Tokyo 2020

Jessica-Jane Applegate, Bethany Firth, Jordan Catchpole and Reece Dunn

Great Britain's Jessica-Jane Applegate, Bethany Firth, Jordan Catchpole and Reece Dunn after winning gold in the 4x100m Mixed Relay S14 during day four of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. - Credit: PA

Two east coast swimmers smashed the world record and won gold for Paralympic GB at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Beccles' Jordan Catchpole and Jessica-Jane Applegate, from Great Yarmouth, were part of the Paralympics GB mixed relay squad in the 4x100m S14 freestyle mixed relay.

Fellow Paralympics GB swimmers Reece Dunn and Bethany Firth had given the team a strong start after their impressive laps, before Applegate and Catchpole cemented their place on the podium.

With a time of 3:40.63, the team smashed the previous world record of 3:42.21, which had been set by Applegate, Firth, Dunn and Thomas Hamer in September 2019 in London.

They finished almost six full seconds ahead of silver medallists Australia, and almost 11 seconds ahead of bronze medallists Brazil. 

Catchpole, 21, who has autism and has lived in Beccles all his life, has now added Paralympic gold to his collection, having been a two-time European silver medallist and two-time silver and bronze World Championship medallist.

So far in the games, the 21-year-old has also taken part in the 200m freestyle - where he finished fifth on Friday - as well as the 100m butterfly - where he finished fifth in his heat and placing 16th overall on Wednesday.

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He will return to the pool on Tuesday, August 31, for the 200m individual medley, and again on Thursday, September 2, for the 100m backstroke.

The athlete, who left school aged 14 after being diagnosed with autism and extreme learning difficulties, competes in the S14 classification, which is for swimmers with an intellectual impairment.

He completed his first para swimming competition in Manchester as a teenager in 2015 and fulfilled a lifelong ambition to compete in the Paralympic Games when he qualified for Tokyo.

Applegate claimed bronze in the S14 200m freestyle on Friday.

Like her fellow east coast teammate, she will return to the pool on August 31 and September 2 for the 200m individual medley and 100m backstroke.

She also finished sixth in the final of the 100m butterfly on Wednesday, missing out on a medal by 1.19 seconds.