Pressure is off for Gorleston Paralympic star Jessica-Jane Applegate

Gorleston's Jessica-Jane Applegate on the podium with her gold medal after the Women's 200m Freestyl

Gorleston's Jessica-Jane Applegate on the podium with her gold medal after the Women's 200m Freestyle - S14 Final at the Aquatics Centre, London, at the London 2012 Paralympics. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire. - Credit: PA Wire

Paralympic champion Jessica-Jane Applegate believes the pressure is off as she gears up for a first career outing at the IPC Swimming European Championships in Eindhoven next month.

Despite being 17, Applegate boasts an impressive medal collection having added the world 200m freestyle title to her Paralympic crown and claimed global silver and bronze last year.

Such performances have given the City of Norwich flyer the confidence to relax as she heads off to the continent to compete at the European Championships for the first time.

Last month Applegate, who has Asperger’s syndrome, took victory in the 200m medley, an event in which she won world silver last year, at the British Gas International Swimming Meet in Manchester.

Applegate knows that will count for little come the European Championships in the Netherlands but insists she feels no strain to deliver a third major international title in as many years.

“I was really pleased with my results from Manchester,” Applegate said. “It’s been a good season so far, although there haven’t been any major tournaments yet.

“Training for the European Championships has been going really well and I’m feeling good in the water and good about what I can achieve.

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“We haven’t really set times or goals for the Europeans because instead we are just going to set technical goals and try to hit those.

“But it will be my first European Championships and so I am really looking forward to it.

“There won’t be as much pressure on me because I’ve competed at big events before so I know exactly what to expect.”

Next month’s European Championships start a busy period for Applegate who is among 12 medal-winning swimmers from the London 2012 Paralympics to feature at National Paralympic Day on August 30.

“I haven’t been back to London since winning in 2012 so it should be great and it will bring back a lot of happy memories.

“National Paralympic Day was great last year so I’m expecting it to be the same this year which should be really exciting.

“I think the day is important because it helps to raise awareness. It not only shows what all the athletes are doing and raises awareness but just for disabilities as a whole which is really important,” said Applegate.

National Paralympic Day will be celebrated with a day of Paralympic sport and disability arts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. To buy tickets log on to #NPD2014 is supported by Spirit of 2012.