Jessica-Jane Applegate won ParalympicsGB’s third swimming gold in four days as she stormed to the 200m Freestyle title on day four of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Having qualified fastest, the 16 year old was lying third for the first three lengths as the Netherlands’ world champion Marlou van der Kulk led the race out.
But taking inspiration from a deafening roar as she turned for the last time, the Briton soared past van der Kulk and Australia’s eventual silver medallist Taylor Corry in the final 50m to claim gold at her first major international.
Having taken two seconds from her personal best with her Paralympic record of two minutes 12.63 seconds, Applegate admitted she was determined to make an impression in her final appearance of the Games.
“I had to give everything I have because that was my last race and I knew it wouldn’t matter if I collapsed at the end of the race,” said the City of Norwich swimmer.
“I’m normally a sprinter so that definitely helped me at the end of the race.
“My PB was 2:14 so to knock two seconds off it was amazing. Everyone has given me so much support which has really helped.”
Applegate’s teammate Natalie Massey also made the S14 200m Freestyle final and finished sixth in a season’s best 2:15.35.
James Clegg won the first Paralympic medal of his career with bronze in the S12 100m Butterfly just an hour before his sister Libby took silver in T12 100m at the Olympic Stadium.
After setting a British record 59.99 seconds to qualify third in the heats, the 18 year old – making his international debut in London – turned in fifth before storming back to finish in one minute exactly.
The Briton out-touched USA’s Tucker Dupree by just 0.15 seconds for his medal and admitted his initial feelings were of disbelief.
“I’m really happy to be able to stand on the podium,” said Clegg, from Stockport. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I guess that will come later tonight, or tomorrow or maybe some other point later this year.
“The swim was good. I knew there was a guy ahead of me and I really wanted to catch him and I did.
“I was planning to put my headphones on and ignore the noise but Libby told me to listen to it and use it to spur you on and it really did.”
Minutes after Clegg’s medal, teenage sensation Hannah Russell claimed her second medal of her debut Paralympics as she also won S12 100m Butterfly bronze.
With only eight entrants, the event went straight to a final with Russell ranked third going into the race.
But the British 16 year old, who won S12 400m Freestyle silver on the opening night in London, made sure of her ranking as she sliced 1.46 seconds off her British record to touch in 1:08.57.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Russell. “To come here and get another medal in one of my main events is fantastic.
“I came here just to PB, enjoy the experience and get into finals. Any medals are just bonuses for me so I’m really pleased
“Coming back from the 400m Free with a big PB gave me a lot more confidence for today and hopefully I can get some more this week.”
Rhiannon Henry missed out on her first medal of the Games by an agonising 0.10 seconds in the S13 100m Freestyle.
The European champion turned in third but was denied at the wall by USA’s Rebecca Anne Myers, the American finishing in 1:01.90 to Henry’s 1:02.00.
After qualifying fastest from the heats, the British 34pt 4x100m Freestyle Relay quartet ended the night by finishing fifth.
The team of Sean Fraser (S8), Thomas Young (S8), Sam Hynd (S8) and Rob Welbourn (S10) improved on their heat time to finish in 3:56.38.
Heather Frederiksen set a season’s best as she finished sixth in the S8 50m Freestyle.
The European record holder, who won S8 400m Freestyle silver earlier in the Games, clocked 31.93 to improve on her seventh-place finish from the 2008 Games in Beijing.
Dan Pepper and Ben Procter missed out on the medals in the S14 200m Freestyle.
The final was a tight affair with less than four seconds separating the eight swimmers.
The top three all ducked under the world record leaving Pepper in seventh in 2:03.27 with Procter eighth in 2:03.30.
Get more Paralympics news from www.paralympics.org.uk/gb.