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Swimmer close to world record

PUBLISHED: 10:26 27 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:57 16 September 2010

JESSICA Jane Applegate from Gorleston, who has delivered some eye-catching performances in the swimming pool, stepped up her swimming to yet another level as she began to pose a serious threat to a world record for her disability swimming category.

JESSICA Jane Applegate from Gorleston, who has delivered some eye-catching performances in the swimming pool, stepped up her swimming to yet another level as she began to pose a serious threat to a world record for her disability swimming category.

In the women's 50m freestyle Jessica swam a time just 0.93 seconds outside of the world's fastest ever time which was set in 2002 by a Team GB swimmer.

Jessica (pictured centre), who has just celebrated her 14th birthday, competed at the ASA National Swimming Championships in Sunderland and was joined by Lowestoft and Oulton Broad SC team-mates Mark Chard and Stephanie Bird.

Day one of the long course competition saw Jess' dazzling performance. In the heats she swam 30.79 in the 50m free, which qualified her for the final.

The atmosphere was electric as Britain's best able-bodied swimmers were competing for Commonwealth Games places, and in the multi-disability final, Jess swam an amazing time of 29.88.

It was a massive lifetime personal best. She was first to touch the finishing pad, but multi-disability events are scored on a points basis in relation to the world record of that particular swimmer's type of disability.

Joining her in the final was the world record holder in the S8 category, who scored most points, but Jess, who is in the S14 category, finished with the silver medal.

Next day Jess competed in the 100m free where she finished with her second silver medal, outside the world record by 2.1 seconds.

On the third day she was disqualified when she lost her balance on the diving block.

But in the 100m backstroke on the fourth and final day, while this is not her main stroke, in the final she finished in fourth in her best time by six seconds.

Jessica and her Lowestoft and OB team-mates came away with a record number of national medals totalling one gold, two silver and two bronze.

Jess' delighted coach Simon Pickering commented: “Jess is showing huge potential, she is inexperienced in relation to her competitors but already she is making her mark on the swimming world.”

Jessica's disability category of S14 means she has learning difficulties. This makes remembering and understanding things including the complex movements and skills of swimming strokes is much harder than that of an able-bodied swimmer.

She is also diagnosed with aspergers and has an ongoing medical problem with her foot. She has her sights set on a Para-Olympics medal.

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