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Golden girl Bethany Firth is on top of the world

By Graham Luney

Talented swimmer Bethany Firth is a world beater!

The 19-year-old from Seaforde, Co Down, set a new world record yesterday during qualifying for the IPC World Championships.

Firth turned on the power in Glasgow to set a time of one minute 14.40 seconds in the 100m breaststroke, 1.43 seconds inside the previous record, and her memorable day was complete when she claimed a gold medal.

"That really surprised me. Breaststroke isn't my best event," said Bethany. "I'm so pleased to be here and swimming and my family are here to support me.

"You can't do those sort of swims if you don't have the support of everyone behind you."

The London 2012 gold medallist and World Championship silver medallist, who has learning disabilities, is now competing for Great Britain, having represented Paralympics Ireland.

Ards Swimming Club joined the well wishers congratulating Bethany on Twitter.

Firth, who has problems with her short-term memory, also competes in 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle. She won S14 100m backstroke gold for Ireland at the Paralympics in 2012.

Following her heroics, Firth was named Belfast Telegraph Young Player of the Year and Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year in Sport.

Her first major international will be July's IPC World Championships. Firth has joined a GB set-up which also includes fellow S14s in Paralympic champion Jessica Jane Applegate, European bronze medallists Chloe Davies and Nicole Lough as well as Commonwealth Games silver medallist Thomas Hamer.

Belfast Telegraph

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