Paralympic champions Ellie Simmonds and Bethany Firth set encouraging mid-season world records as Great Britain’s top para-swimmers converged on Manchester Aquatics Centre this weekend.
Competing long course for the last time in 2015, Paralympic champion Jessica-Jane Applegate also set two world records at the National Para-Swimming Championships while 15-year old Rebecca Redfern clocked a European record.
Having enjoyed a successful season with four medals at this year’s IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Simmonds impressed in her favourite 200m Individual Medley event.
The 21-year old SM6 swimmer sliced more than a second off her own world record to touch in 3:00.01 with the target of a sub-three minute time surely beckoning in 2016.
“I wasn’t expecting to go that fast at this time of the season,” said Simmonds.
“I’m shocked, but it’s such a shame that I didn’t get 2:59. So there’s still something to aim for – that’s always the goal, and I know I’ll have to do everything I can next year to get that Rio medal.”
Firth missed out on the World Championships through injury, but left a taste of what can be expected at next year’s Rio 2016 Paralympics as she surged to a new S14 200m Freestyle record.
Beating Valeriia Shabalina’s old record of 2:04.98 that won gold in Glasgow this summer, Firth touched in 2:04.44 – more than half a second quicker than the Russian’s best effort.
Applegate is the defending Paralympic champion in that event, and showed she is still at the top of her game with S14 world records in the 100m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly.
While neither event will be contested at Rio next year, the 19-year old asserted her dominance in Manchester with a 59.04 effort in the 100m Free and a new WR time of 1:07.28 in the 100m Fly.
Teenager Redfern is yet to compete on the international stage at Championship level, but she underlined her potential in the SB13 100m Breaststroke.
The Worcester swimmer shaved more than two seconds off her previous personal best to set a European record 1:18.99 in the visually impaired classification.
Among the other record breakers in Manchester were Suzanne Warren, who set new British markers across four events in the S4 class, Stephen Clegg, Thomas Hamer and Grace Harvey.