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Rio targeted as the real goal for Bethany

Bethany Firth now has her sights set on qualifying for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, having landed four gold medals in the Lagan Valley Leisureplex at the weekend.

Firth and her Ards team-mates scooped a plethora of medals at the Irish short course championships, but coach Nelson Lindsay made it clear that her training programme has been all about next summer's Games and the defence of her 100m backstroke crown.

The bubbly 19-year-old will head to the Disability Sport England championships this week and then her main goal will come into focus, the Paralympic Great Britain trials which are being held in Glasgow in April.

Coach Lindsay said: "There are four events that Bethy can qualify for in Rio in the S14 category, the 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 100m breaststroke and I would be disappointed if she doesn't make into all four.

"I was very pleased with her performances at the weekend in the Irish championships. She managed to win four golds and yet as a club we hadn't tapered for this event. The whole focus of her training is about peaking at the British trials.

"For example, in the last full week of training Bethy had done 55,000 metres so after 21 races in three days in Lisburn she was a very tired lady. She was excellent at the weekend."

Firth along with Mary Kate McDowell, Rebecca and Emma Reid claimed all four relay titles for Ards and the men broke the 20-year-old 4x50m freestyle relay record, edging out UCD by four hundredths of a second.

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