Tag Archives: freestyle

Charlotte Dujardin breaks world record at London International Horse Show

Olympic star Dujardin strikes again with world record display at Olympia

|

UPDATED:

00:48 GMT, 18 December 2012

Double Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin delivered a stunning world record display to win the Reem Acra FEI World Cup qualifier at the London International Horse Show.

The 27-year-old British star guided her brilliant London 2012 horse Valegro to an emphatic grand prix victory at Olympia.

Their score of 84.447 per cent broke the previous world-best (84.08 per cent) set by Dutch star Edward Gal and black stallion Totilas at the 2009 European Championships in Windsor.

And it means she now holds world records in two of dressage's three disciplines – grand prix and grand prix special.

Fine fettle: Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro smashed the world record

Fine fettle: Great Britain's Charlotte Dujardin riding Valegro smashed the world record

It was their first competitive outing since the Olympics more than four months ago, and once again they proved a class apart despite Dujardin being treated by a doctor for bronchitis earlier in the day.

'The horse is amazing, I am just so lucky to have him,' she said.

'I had the worst headache this morning. I rode a bit safer than I would normally.'

Dujardin and Valegro won individual gold at Greenwich Park and they were also part of Great Britain's Olympic title-winning team alongside Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer.

Hester, who was among those left in her wake tonight, said: 'That was an incredible test. She just keeps notching up the percentages.'

Playing it safe: Dujardin was treated for bronchitis earlier in the day

Playing it safe: Dujardin was treated for bronchitis earlier in the day

Dujardin won by a landslide margin of more than eight per cent from Germany's Isabell Werth (Don Johnson FRH), with Gal (Glock's Undercover) third. Hester and his Olympic horse Uthopia finished sixth.

Dujardin and 14 other qualifiers will now contest the World Cup freestyle to music class in front of a capacity crowd on Tuesday night.

Her routine will be a repeat of the London 2012 showcase that featured strains of Land of Hope and Glory, interspersed with Big Ben chimes, on what could prove an emotional occasion.

And Gal's world record of 92.30% might come under serious threat from Dujardin, whose personal best on Valegro is 90.65% set just before the London Olympics.

Tied down: Dujardin says she hopes she can keep Valegro

Tied down: Dujardin says she hopes she can keep Valegro

Dujardin said last week that attempts are being made to form an owners' syndicate aimed at buying Valegro and keeping it in Britain.

The horse, co-owned by Hester and Roly Luard, would comfortably command a seven-figure sum, and speculation has raged about a potential sale since the Olympics.

Dujardin hopes she can keep the ride, but whether she will contest summer's European Championships in Denmark aboard Valegro remains clouded by uncertainty.

Performances like this, though, can only help in finding potential new backers.

Hannah Miley beats Ye Shiwen to gold in 400m medley at World Short-Course Championships and Lowe wins bronze

Miley beats Olympic champion Ye to win gold and Lowe bags bronze at World Short-Course Championships

|

UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 12 December 2012

Hannah Miley held off Olympic champion Ye Shiwen to claim Great Britain's first gold medal of the World Short-Course Championships when she won the 400 metres individual medley in Istanbul.

Ye was at the centre of the biggest controversy in the pool at the 2012 Olympics as her freestyle leg en route to victory in the eight-length event almost defied belief.

In London the Chinese teenager was just three hundredths of a second slower over the final 100m than Ryan Lochte, winner of the men's race.
Indeed her last 50m was faster than four in the men's final, including Lochte and Thiago Pereira, the gold and silver medallists.

Earlier Jemma Lowe won Britain's first medal at the event by finishing third in the 200
metres butterfly.

Take that: Miley (left) held off a late rally from Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen

Take that: Miley (left) held off a late rally from Chinese sensation Ye Shiwen

Miley, fifth in London, had qualified fastest into the final, but predicted it would be a different race come the final, claiming the Chinese teenager was 'playing' in the heats.

Fourth after the butterfly and backstroke legs, Miley then produced a superb breaststroke to turn first going into the freestyle, 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye.

However, as expected, Ye came back and on her final 25m of 28.14 secs, the only sub 29-second last length in the field, she reeled Miley in.

The Scot, though, was breathing to her right where she could see her rival, whom she held off by 0.19s to win in a new championship record of four minutes 23.14 seconds, the fastest ever in a textile suit, bettering her own mark from the European Championship last month.

Hanging on: Miley turned into the freestyle leg 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye and held on to win by 0.19 seconds

Hanging on: Miley turned into the freestyle leg 2.04 seconds ahead of Ye and held on to win by 0.19 seconds

The 23-year-old 'was hanging on for dear life' and admitted the achievement had significance for both her and her father and coach Patrick, vindicating their approach after the Olympics.

Miley said: 'A lot of top athletes aren't here so for me I see it as an opportunity and any opportunity I see I try and take it.

'So for me I was aiming for it to be a confidence booster for both myself and my dad and what we are doing this season.

'Not only were we trying to chase placings, but also to do a really good time which I was really happy with.

'But the main thing is long-course (50m) swimming so I am really happy with what I've done, but for me I am not going to be happy with it until I can prove I can do it long course as well.

'Hindsight is a great thing and lots of people have cliches and I was genuinely was happy with that swim, but for me I probably wouldn't be the athlete I am standing here today doing those times if the Olympics hadn't have happened.'

Golden girl: Miley (centre) poses with her gold medal in Istanbul

Golden girl: Miley (centre) poses with her gold medal in Istanbul

Lowe secured Britain's first medal in Istanbul as she won bronze in the 200m butterfly.

The 22-year-old swam from lane one after qualifying seventh, meaning she had no idea of how the expected leaders were faring.

However, that had little bearing on the Swansea ITC swimmer who touched in two minutes 3.19 seconds. It was also a national record for Lowe, who lowered her own 2010 mark, the Briton leading after 150m before being overtaken by Hungarian Katinka Hosszu and 2012 Olympic champion Jiao Liuyang.

All smiles: Jemma Lowe (right) picked up the bronze in the 200m butterfly

All smiles: Jemma Lowe (right) picked up the bronze in the 200m butterfly

Lowe said: 'I'm really pleased with that. I didn't know what to expect after this morning when I was in that slow heat by myself and I just scraped into the final.

'Because I have won a medal previously at world short course I was really determined to get up there, so I just gave it my very best tonight and I can't believe how it worked out.'

There was no such satisfaction for Michael Jamieson, the Olympic 200m breaststroke silver medallist.

The Glaswegian was thoroughly frustrated, despite setting a new personal best of 58.56s in the 100m breaststroke.

He said: 'It's the same old story on the 100 – I just can't keep up with the bigger guys.

Powerhouse: Lowe put in a solid performance to pick up Britain's first medals

Powerhouse: Lowe put in a solid performance to pick up Britain's first medals

'It's frustrating – it's the fastest I have ever been but I am getting to the stage with the 200m that if I am ever going to improve then my 100 needs to come down.'

That was in contrast to Georgia Davies, another Swansea ITC swimmer, who set a personal best of 57.41s to qualify third for the 100m backstroke final.

Lizzie Simmonds was 10th in 58.34s, although her focus is on the 200m since her move to Bath ITC.

Rebecca Adlington hits out at British Swimming over failure to appoint head coach

Adlington says failure to appoint new head coach has left British swimmers in limbo

|

UPDATED:

19:49 GMT, 3 December 2012

Former double Olympic champion Rebecca Adlington has called on British Swimming to appoint a new head coach as soon as possible claiming the current situation has left swimmers feeling in limbo.

Dennis Pursley vacated the head coach role immediately after the pool programme at the 2012 Games, although his return to his native United States to coach at the University of Alabama had always been his intention, rather than any reaction to Team GB's poor showing.

The team came away with just three medals – two bronzes by Adlington in the 400 metres and 800m freestyle and Michael Jamieson's silver in the 200m breaststroke – and a devastated national performance director Michael Scott quickly announced a review.

Time for a change: Adlington has urged British swimming to appoint a new coach as soon as possible

Time for a change: Adlington has urged British swimming to appoint a new coach as soon as possible

Five men, including Michael Phelps' coach Bob Bowman, were appointed to the panel but by the time it was published yesterday Scott had resigned after refusing to relocate from Australia, where his family are based.

The Australian had been splitting his time between Australia and Britain but the review concluded the incumbent must be based here full-time.

As a result, two key positions are now vacant although it was always intended the head coach role would not be filled until the conclusion of the review.

For Adlington, though, it has been too long and she told BBC Sport: 'Why is it taking so long We've been dying for them to appoint a head coach for months.

Rebecca Adlington

Rebecca Adlington

Face of British swimming: Adlington, who won two bronze medals at the London Games, has questioned why it has taken so long to appoint a new head coach

'Surely, that would make more sense for the head coach to be appointed before the review, even if it was just one who said “look this is semi-permanent, you might want to continue after the review but you might help us until then making these decisions”.

'A lot of us don't know who we are going to at the moment. Who do we speak to It's awful what's been going on.'

Names linked with the head role include Adlington's own coach Bill Furniss along with Chris Nesbit, who ran the successful off-shore centre set up in Australia during Bill Sweetenham's tenure, while John Atkinson, British disability swimming performance director, has been mentioned to succeed Scott.

Were Furniss to be appointed, it would have a huge effect on Adlington who has trained with him since the age of 12.

Before the publication of the review, Adlington said: 'Literally everything is on hold, he doesn't really know very much. 'He doesn't know who the next head coach is going to be, he doesn't know whether he wants to do it or anything like that.

'I don't want to be nasty to Bill because he is only 58 but he probably wouldn't go on for another four years coaching and if I was to get in (to the pool), I probably wouldn't want to swim for another four years.

'No-one can make a decision, it's not just me – no-one knows what is happening, no-one knows what is happening with the programmes, it's all up in the air – that is the thing for me and Bill.

'Just waiting really – waiting and waiting. I just wish they would get on with it.'

The ultimate ringer? College swimming team call on four-time Olympic champion

The ultimate ringer College swimming team call up four-time Olympic champion

|

UPDATED:

17:55 GMT, 29 November 2012

A college have sparked controversy by naming an Olympic champion in their team for their next swimming gala.

For Regis Jesuit High School team in America have included four-time champion Olympic Missy Franklin champion in their line-up.

Sensation: Olympic champion Missy Franklin

Sensation: Olympic champion Missy Franklin

The American teenager blitzed the world's best to claim gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke, 4 x 200m freestyle and 4 x 100 m medley.

And Franklin also broke two world records at last summers' games.

Now the 17-year-old sensation has decided to make her comeback for her school team in Aurora, Colorado.

And the move has divided her team-mates and opponents, with some critics saying her presence
would be unfair on school friends and opponents, and others that not to
return would be disrespectful.

'The hardest part for me is I really have no gut feeling on this,” Franklin said earlier in the month.

High point: Franklin will make comeback for college team

High point: Franklin will make comeback for college team

'It’s so hard when I have so many people who are really wanting me to do it and so supportive, and I have other people who are saying it’s not fair, saying: “Why would you do this to other girls” And I feel so bad thinking that they would think that.

'It’s hard, because I feel like no matter what I do, it’s going to be opposed in some way or form.'

But the school’s athletic director, John Koslosky, said that Franklin, in her final year at Regis Jesuit before leaving for the university of California, has now decided to participate in some of the scheduled events.

'She’s doing this because of her team, her school and the other girls who swim in high school,' he told the Denver Post. 'And she wants to. They all want her there.'

Koslosky confirmed that, given her training schedule and other demands on her time, her appearances will be limited, and the school would try to minimise the disruption caused by interest in watching her compete.

'It will be limited,' he said. 'Last year, there were all sorts of cameras everywhere … Missy was concerned about it, and I think that’s what made her struggle in making this decision.

'But she said she wanted to pass on turning pro and attend college, and she signed to do that, and she said she wants to swim with her teammates and her school. I think it’s great.'

Ellie Simmonds through to S6 100 metres freestyle final

Simmonds on target to win fourth medal after booking spot in S6 100m freestyle final

|

UPDATED:

11:09 GMT, 8 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds put a disrupted build-up to her final day at the Aquatics Centre behind her as she launched her bid for a fourth medal of the Paralympics in the S6 100 metres freestyle.

The 17-year-old has already claimed two golds and one bronze medal at the Aquatics Centre and this morning she went through second fastest behind Victoria Arlen in one minute 16.68 seconds.

The American equalled her own world record of 1min 14.74secs as she headed the field by 1.94secs.

Feel the fourth: Simmonds has already won two golds and a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games

Feel the fourth: Simmonds has already won two golds and a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games

Simmonds' task has been aided by the
withdrawal of S6 50m free champion Mirjam de Koning-Peper but she was
just glad to have negotiated this morning's heats.

Simmonds said: 'I had a rubbish lead-up to this one: I couldn't sleep at all last night.

'I've been quite emotional, I don't
know why. But I am enjoying it, I think that is what I am going to get
out of tonight – enjoy today and it's the last day.

'I've had the best time of my life so far so I am just enjoying it all now.'

The Swansea-based swimmer added:
'It's the end but I've had so many amazing swims and stuff but I am
quite an emotional person so it comes out.

'I think it is going to be a really tough race.

'It's going to be so tough but I am just going to go out there and enjoy myself.

'I've got two gold medals, I've got
world records, got a bronze medal. 'Amazing achievement – I am just
going to go out and enjoy it.'

Arlen, second behind Simmonds in the 400m freestyle, added: 'This is my last race and I'm fired up and ready to go. I love the 100 and I'm just going to go all out in the final.

'It's been a rollercoaster of emotions after everything that has happened in the last month, and even the last six months with my health. To have three medals in my first big meeting, it's something I never would have expected. I feel really great and I'm really enjoying it.

'It's tough but I love racing Ellie. It's great and she's a sweetheart. It's sometimes hard when people are cheering against you, but it's really an energetic crowd and it pushes us all on.'

The 17-year-old had to endure being on the verge of being excluded from the Games on the eve of London 2012 before a reprieve by the International Paralympic Committee.

She said: 'The reclassification comes with the sport and I really respect the IPC and their whole programme. It is what it is, but here I am swimming and doing a lot better than I ever would have expected.'

London 2012 Parlympics: Equestrian: Sophie Wells wins second dressage silver

And another! Wells takes second Paralympic silver after stunning display at Greenwich

|

UPDATED:

11:06 GMT, 4 September 2012

Great Britain's Sophie Wells won her second silver medal of the Paralympic Games at Greenwich Park on Tuesday.

Wells, a member of the gold medal-winning British dressage team, produced a personal best score of 81.150 per cent aboard Pinocchio in the Grade IV freestyle.

Settlling for second Sophie Wells won her second silver medal of the 2012 Games in the Grade IV freestyle dressage

Settlling for second Sophie Wells won her second silver medal of the 2012 Games in the Grade IV freestyle dressage

It was not enough for the title, though, as Belgium's Michele George and Rainman eclipsed them with her own personal best 82.100 per cent.

The result was a repeat of the Grade IV individual championship on Sunday, while Holland's Frank Hosmar and Alphaville claimed bronze.

Wells' medal took the British tally at Greenwich to nine, one behind their Paralympic record of four years ago, and there are two events still remaining.

Deb Criddle has an outstanding medal chance in Grade III freestyle, and Sophie Christiansen will bid for her third gold of the Games in the Grade Ia equivalent.

And another one: Wells' silver is Team GB's ninth medal at Greenwich in the Paralympics

And another one: Wells' silver is Team GB's ninth medal at Greenwich in the Paralympics

Wells, 22, had been fired up to avenge her defeat on Sunday, but it was not to be as George – 15 years her senior – did just enough for double gold.

'I had to take some risks today to have a chance of beating Michele,' said Wells, who is from Newark in Nottinghamshire.

'Some of the risks paid off, some of them maybe didn't, but I am absolutely thrilled with my horse. He has coped like a star with the atmosphere.

'You win some, you lose some. You have got to come back fighting, and I loved it in that arena. It has been an absolute dream to compete here.

'I had a small mistake in one of the tempo changes, which affected my last halt, but I have come here and got three personal bests with my three rides.'

Wells, the reigning world and European Paralympic champion who has competed successfully in non-disabled competitions, now hopes to compete Pinocchio at grand prix level next year.

'There is life after London, and we are next on to Rio in four years' time, although I don't know how we will quite be able to top London.

'I suppose I am slightly disappointed because we did come here for gold, but to come away with two silvers and a gold and make a big contribution to the team medal is amazing.'

London 2012 Paralympics: Natasha Baker wins gold number two

Baker breaker! Golden girl beats another Paralympic record on way to second gold of Games

|

UPDATED:

12:43 GMT, 3 September 2012

Great Britain's Natasha Baker won her second gold medal of the Paralympic Games at Greenwich Park on Monday.

The 22-year-old, from Uxbridge in Middlesex, took the Grade II freestyle class on Cabral with a Paralympic record score of 82.800 per cent.

Her victory came just 48 hours after
she was crowned Grade II individual champion – also achieved with a
Paralympic record -, and it gave Britain's para-equestrian team a
seventh medal of the Games.

Another one: Natasha Baker wins gold in the individual freestyle dressage

Another one: Natasha Baker wins gold in the individual freestyle dressage

Further medals in each of the last four events today and tomorrow would take them past their record haul of 10 in Beijing four years ago.

Baker, who suffers from an inflammation of the spine, faced tough competition from the likes of reigning freestyle Paralympic champion Lauren Barwick and German rivals Britta Napel and Angelika Trabert.

But she rose to the challenge superbly, delivering a high-class musical routine that was a class above anything else.

Napel (Aquilina 3) and Trabert (Arriva-Avanti) took silver and bronze, respectively, with Ireland's Eilish /09/03/article-0-14D0D1BC000005DC-399_634x453.jpg” width=”634″ height=”453″ alt=”Not bad: Baker was delighted to get her second Paralympic gold at Greenwich ” class=”blkBorder” />

Not bad: Baker was delighted to get her second Paralympic gold at Greenwich

Another record: In each event Baker broke the previous Paralympic record

Another record: In each event Baker broke the previous Paralympic record

London 2012 Paralympics: Jessica-Jane Applegate and Sophie Christiansen pick up gold

Golden girls back in fashion as two more Brits pick up top accolades

|

UPDATED:

21:57 GMT, 2 September 2012

The golden girls are back as the Paralympics provided us with two more on Sunday.

Jessica-Jane Applegate and Sophie Christiansen claimed their gold medals in different sports and in different ways but the beaming smiles were the same.

Applegate triumphed in the pool, Christiansen in the more serene equestrian arena after an anxious wait. Her victory, riding Janeiro 6, ensured Britain won the team event too, meaning a 10th gold for Lee Pearson.

That's the one: Sophie Christiansen with her dressage gold

That's the one: Sophie Christiansen with her dressage gold

Applegate continued where Ellie Simmonds left off, coming from behind on the last leg to send a partisan home crowd delirious.

Applegate is just 16 yet raced like a veteran, turning into the final leg of her S14 200m freestyle in third but notching a Paralympic record time of 2min 12.63sec. She reeled in Holland’s Marlou van der Kulk, then Australia’s Taylor Corry to win by 0.55sec. ‘I’m ecstatic. I really didn’t think I’d be able to do something like that,’ said Applegate, who has learning difficulties which limit the amount of coaching she can absorb. ‘The last turn I just knew I had to give everything.

‘I just had to break through that pain barrier. To knock two seconds off my PB is amazing.’

Great race: Jessica-Jane Applegate (left) swam superbly

Great race: Jessica-Jane Applegate (left) swam superbly

Christiansen was drawn first in her event and posted an imposing 82.750 per cent. She waited as 13 riders tried and failed to top it.

The 24-year-old’s triumph came after double gold in Beijing, a feat she has emulated following the team success alongside Pearson, Deb Criddle and Sophie Wells.

‘As long as I stayed relaxed and focused on what I had done in training, I knew I could pull out an 80 per cent-plus test,’ said Christiansen, who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Blind swimmers James Clegg and Hannah Russell won bronze in their 100m butterfly races. Clegg’s sister Libby won silver in the T12 100m at the Olympic Stadium less than 40 minutes later.

In the dressage, Wells and Criddle had earlier claimed silver in their classes.

London 2012 Paralympics: Ellie Simmonds wins gold in 400m freestyle

Simmonds smashes 400m freestyle world record as she takes GB's second Paralympic gold in the pool

|

UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 1 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds claimed ParalympicsGB's second gold medal in the pool of London 2012 when she triumphed in her S6 400 metres freestyle shoot-out against Victoria Arlen and demolished the American's world record by more than five seconds.

Victory in five minutes 19.17 seconds followed the gold won by Jonathan Fox on the opening night and came immediately after Simmonds' Swansea team-mate Matthew Whorwood secured bronze in the previous race in the men's equivalent.

Tears of joy! Ellie Simmonds smashed the world record by five seconds on her way to 400m gold

Tears of joy! Ellie Simmonds smashed the world record by five seconds on her way to 400m gold

The crowd at the Aquatics Centre had grown increasingly more raucous as Whorwood made his way to the bronze in the previous race and on Simmonds' introduction the noise was intense.

The pair were neck and neck going into the final turn with the Briton 0.08 secs ahead and as she pulled away, the American had no answer as Simmonds touched first to send the crowd into a frenzy.

It was only at 2pm on Saturday that Arlen's participation in the race was confirmed in a statement released by the International Paralympic Committee.

Earlier this week the American swimmer had been deemed ineligible for competition and excluded from London 2012.

The United States' appeal to the IPC was upheld and the 17-year-old was reinstated on Thursday.

In a two-stage process, Arlen passed an initial assessment but she was also observed during racing on Saturday and it was only following the morning's heat that any doubt surrounding her involvement in her three S6 freestyle events was dispelled with a review in a year's time.

Unstoppable: Simmonds was in disbelief when she took the gold in London

Unstoppable: Simmonds was in disbelief when she took the gold in London

A swimmer's classification can change for different strokes because the nature of their impairment may affect their ability to perform a particular stroke.

This applies to Arlen who competes in the SB5 class in breaststroke in which she will continue to be observed.

Simmonds struggled to keep her emotions in check as she came to terms with her achievement.

'I need to sort myself out because I don't want to cry again,' she told Channel 4.

'I just went out there and gave it my all. I'm exhausted but I can't wait to see my coach (Billy Pye).

'I'm exhausted. I can't believe I did it.

Congratulations: Victoria Arlen embraces Simmonds after being beaten by the Briton

Congratulations: Victoria Arlen embraces Simmonds after being beaten by the Briton

'It was so tough. I saw her (Arlen) on the last 100 and I was like, “I'm going to have to put my head down' and I thought, 'I'm going to do it for for everyone who's supported me”.'

Asked whether the uncertainty surrounding Arlen's participation had affected her, she said: 'Not really. I think it pushed me even harder.

'I knew that she was on it tonight, I knew I had to go there and give it everything, but 5.19 – my coach said it was going to be won in a 5.19 but I didn't believe him.

'I just put my head down and gave it everything. I was exhausted but I just put my head down and went for it.

'Everyone was wishing me good luck which was so nice. I did it for myself, I did it for my family.'

With the medley still to come, she added: 'I'm on form. I've just done a six-second PB so everything's going really well so I'm just going to go back, enjoy this moment, enjoy my medal and my presentation. I'm excited.'

London 2012 Paralypics: Ellie Simmonds lays down gauntlet to Victoria Arlen in S6 400m freestyle

Simmonds lays down gauntlet to Arlen with dominant display in S6 400m freestyle

|

UPDATED:

13:11 GMT, 1 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds commanded the spotlight at the Aquatics Centre as she booked a probable showdown with Victoria Arlen in the S6 400 metres freestyle with a blistering performance which indicates she is ready to reclaim her world record from the American.

The Briton won the title in Beijing, along with the 100m freestyle, at the tender age of 13 where her tears on the podium saw her catapulted into the public eye.

Arlen though wrested Simmonds' world record at the United States trials in June as she underlined the threat she was to the home favourite.

Peaking at the right time: Ellie Simmonds was delighted with her performance

Peaking at the right time: Ellie Simmonds was delighted with her performance

Earlier this week, however, Arlen's very participation was thrown into doubt when she was deemed ineligible for competition and excluded from London 2012.

The United States' appeal to the International Paralympic Committee was upheld and the 17-year-old was reinstated on Thursday.

It is a two-stage process with Arlen having passed an initial assessment but she was also observed during racing today after which a final decision was set to be reached.

The IPC announced this morning they would make a statement as to her fate this afternoon, before the final where she was the fastest qualifier behind Simmonds.

The situation clearly had not affected Simmonds who was beaming after her time of five minutes 24.64 seconds, a Paralympic and European record and personal best and just 0.18secs outside Arlen's world mark.

Simmonds said: 'Really pleased. I am shocked by it. All my coach (Billy Pye) said leading into it was to go in there and hopefully do a 5:30.

Going for gold: Simmonds is confident ahead of the final

Going for gold: Simmonds is confident ahead of the final

'But, yeah, really happy – I've just done a PB in a heat swim which gets me ready for tonight. It's going to be a very tough but very exciting race but I am looking forward to it.'

Of the circumstances surrounding her fellow teenager Arlen, Simmonds said: 'I've been aware of it, I've just had to focus on myself, I can't control her. At the start of the week she was an S6 and now she is an S6.

'It is good that now she is an S6. It is going to give me someone to race and she is going to push me to my limits and the best of my ability and I am really excited for that.'

After an emotional few days, Arlen deserves credit for such a swim in what is her Paralympic debut.

She said: 'It has been a rollercoaster but I have an incredible Team USA that has been supporting me.

'But it is what it is, it comes with the sport and I am just happy to be here, happy to swim and happy to represent my country. I'm ready to go always. I was nervous and I was shaking all over and just went out there and was like “I'm here”.'

Strong support: Family and friends cheer on Simmonds

Strong support: Family and friends cheer on Simmonds

While Simmonds was in the spotlight, ParalympicsGB team-mate Natalie Jones also made it through in seventh.

Claire Cashmore heads the SB8 100m breaststroke field in 1:22.90 in which she is the world and European silver medallist.

The Redditch-born swimmer was cautious after the heat and fully expects the final to play out differently.

She said: 'Content, not delighted. I think a lot of girls are holding a lot of things back. The race starts tonight.

'This morning nobody gets a medal for winning their heat, unfortunately, otherwise I would be very happy.'

Other qualifiers were James Crisp and Sam Hynd – both medallists yesterday – in the SB8 100m breaststroke, Matthew Whorwood (S6 400m freestyle), Gemma Almond (S10 100m butterfly), Anthony Stephens (S5 200m freestyle), Rhiannon Henry (S13 50m freestyle) and Sascha Kindred and Thomas Young in the SB7 100m breaststroke.