Jessica-Jane Applegate finally gets her hand on Commonwealth silverware
It took Jessica-Jane Applegate a decade in the sport of swimming to get her hands on a Commonwealth medal.
The Great Yarmouth star finally did it with a strong swim to 200m freestyle S14 silver in a time of 2:08.56 seconds to the delight of a boisterous Birmingham crowd.
It was another fine duel between Applegate and close friend Bethany Firth, who took gold for Northern Ireland by a margin of 1.54 seconds.
It was a podium made up solely of home nations athletes with Olympian Louise Fiddes coming in behind the pair in bronze medal position.
Applegate said: “We’re close friends, we have been training and racing together for years.
“Beth did a really good time and I'm happy for her. All three of us did a really good time. It must have been the crowd that lifted us all.”
Applegate and Firth are thick as thieves and shared the podium twice at the Tokyo Paralympics in the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke.
For Applegate to do so at these Games was the culmination of a long battle to get intellectually impaired sporting classification a spot in the Commonwealth programme.
She said: “It means a lot. I campaigned a lot for this to happen, it’s finally happened after eight years.
“To get us at the Commonwealth Games is phenomenal. I’m just grateful I had the chance to swim, let alone get a medal.”
Applegate has a glittering swimming CV having announced herself with 200m freestyle victory at London 2012.
She is far from finished in the water, however, and is plotting a path to Paris 2024 which she expects to be her swansong.
She said: “It is incredible to still be here after 10 years, but I don’t think you have seen the last of me because I have really enjoyed this competition.
I have to say that I have probably not enjoyed it as much for the last four years, but this has brought out a side of me that made me really enjoy it. So, fingers crossed for next year and I’ll keep going and pushing on for Paris.”
Meanwhile there was a near podium miss for Beccles boy Jordan Catchpole in the men’s 200m freestyle S14.
The Paralympian was just 0.22s shy of a medal on Commonwealth debut, beaten by Australia’s Jack Ireland by a margin of 0.22 seconds.
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