Co. Down swimmer Bethany Firth on Wednesday night added a silver medal to the two gold she had already claimed at the Paralympics in Rio
The 20 year old Seaforde native secured the runner-up spot in Wednesday’s S14 100m breaststroke final despite the event being considered the weakest of the four disciplines in which she is competing.
Pre-race favourite Michelle Alonso Morales from Spain justified her billing by taking the gold medal but only by 0.27 seconds from Firth who was delighted with the result in an event she admits is not her strongest.
“It is her (Morales’) favourite event and to challenge her was exciting and I am glad I did it,” explained the Team GB swimmer.
“I am not really a breaststroker so to come here and do that, I am so happy. Having so much support and people pushing me on makes getting on the podium so much worth it.
“I have had to do a lot more events than other swimmers so to get silver, I could not ask for more.”
The Norther Ireland athlete won’t have much time to celebrate though as she will be competing in the 200m individual medley on Saturday where she is expected to be among the front runners again
“I have not had a season’s best in that event this season, so hopefully this is the gala where I get it,” added Firth.
Firth, who completes in the S14 classes for swimmers with an intellectual disability, successfully defended her 100m backstroke title in Rio last Thursday and also clinched 200m freestyle gold on Sunday.
The 100m breaststroke was expected to represent Firth’s toughest challenge in Rio, but she produced a personal best of 1.12:89 in the final.
She was leading early in the race - and also just after the turn - but narrowly lost out to her Spanish rival.
As a 16-year-old, Firth clinched the 100m backstroke gold for Ireland in London and went on to win three silver medals at the IPC World Championships in Montreal a year later before opting to switch allegiance to Great Britain.