Jessica-Jane gets on track for Rio

Swimming sensation Jessica-Jane Applegate enjoyed the perfect boost as she took her first steps on the road she hopes will lead to Rio in 2016.

The Paralympics golden girl was in record-breaking form in Sheffield on the weekend of the Short Course Championships at Ponds Forge where she competed in six individual events and two relays and won four more golds.

The borough-based hero was representing ‘Team East’ along with two other swimmers from the City of Norwich Swimming Club, Helen Dolphin from Norwich and Katie Nesbitt from Lowestoft. Alex Pinniger, Pat Stebbings and Louise Bush, coaches at the club, joined the swimmers to give support, film them and give feedback.

In Jessica’s first race, the 100m freestyle she lowered her British record to claim gold. In thes 100m backstroke she sliced two seconds of her PB to claim silver.

In the ‘Team East’ relay, a 400m IM, Jessica swam the 100m fly in a PB. In the afternoon she swam a breathtaking 100m butterfly lowering her own British record by three seconds and claimed gold.

Finally she swam 200m freestyle and although she was slightly off her time she still managed to claim the gold. Sunday began with an experiment as Jessica does not usually swim breaststroke due to the pains in her hips and legs. After working with her coach and physiotherapist Jessica has been building up strength slowly. Theace was therefore not about the time but about getting a legally correct stroke but Jessica amazed herself with a five second PB, a legal stroke and ninth position.

“The hard work is paying off. I am really pleased with that. You don’t get anything without hard work and that’s what I have to do if I want to make it to Rio,” said Jessica. A storming sprint through the water in the 50m freestyle final gave her a third British record of the weekend and gold. In the 400m freestyle relay she PBd yet again. ‘Team East’ were winners of the 10-team event.

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Head coach Alex Pinniger said: ‘The London legacy lives on in Jessica, she is a true inspiration.”