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British records for Applegate and Clegg

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2nd September 2012

Paralympic newcomers Jessica-Jane Applegate and James Clegg impressed with British records in the heats on day four of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Applegate was the fastest qualifier in the 200m Freestyle as she ducked under her own record with a well-paced swim.

Competing in the first of three heats, the 16-year old bided her time before overtaking Australia’s early leader Kayla Clarke in the final 50m to touch in 2:14.31 – 0.29 seconds faster than her old national marker.

Natalie Massey will join Applegate in the final after qualifying fourth fastest.

The world bronze medallist dug deep to hold off Sweden’s fast finishing Pernilla Lindberg in the final stretch and set a season’s best 2:16.21 to progress.

Having finished fifth in the S14 100m Backstroke earlier in the Games, 13-year old Chloe Davies narrowly missed out on reaching her second final as she finished ninth overall in 2:18.10.

Clegg became the first British S12 swimmer to swim under a minute for 100m Butterfly as he made a memorable Paralympic debut to win his heat.

The other guys will definitely improve for tonight so we’ll just how it goes.

After turning in second, the 18-year old powered clear of his rivals in the back 50m to touch in 59.99 and secure his final berth as third fastest qualifier.

“I’m happy with that – it’s brilliant,” said Clegg.

“My turns weren’t great and my finish wasn’t brilliant either so hopefully I can knock some more time off that tonight and see if I end up with a medal.

“The other guys will definitely improve for tonight so we’ll just how it goes.”

With only eight entrants, there were no heats for the women’s S12 100m Butterfly in which Hannah Russell will try for her second medal of the Games tonight.

The British 34pt 4x100m Freestyle quartet raised the roof in the last heat of the session as they won a dramatic race to qualify fastest for tonight’s final.

After solid legs from S8 swimmers Sean Fraser, Tom Young and Sam Hynd, S10 swimmer Rob Welbourn anchored the Brits past Australia in the final stretch to touch in 3:57.87.

Having won the title for the past three Games, the Brits know a fourth consecutive gold won’t come easily with Brazil qualifying second fastest in 4:00.12 and Russia third in 4:00.30.

World and European champion Dan Pepper made smooth progress from the S14 200m Freestyle heats as he clocked a season’s best 2:01.94 to qualify fourth fastest.

I have been focusing more on my breaststroke so I just wanted to go in there today and get used to the pool a bit.

The Brit’s teammate Ben Procter led for three quarters of the heat before Pepper touched him out at the wall by just 0.03 seconds.

And Pepper admitted he has come to expect a close race with Procter whenever the pair compete.

“Me and Ben are great rivals in the pool and best mates out of the pool so it’s great when either of us gets the touch,” said Pepper.

“It was a good time for me – I’m really chuffed. I have been focusing more on my breaststroke so I just wanted to go in there today and get used to the pool a bit.

“So to come away with a quick swim is great – perhaps I should prepare like that more often!”

Procter’s time – a personal best 2:01.97 – was comfortably enough to see him through to the final in fifth while Craig Rodgie missed out by less than a second as he finished ninth overall in 2:05.59.

Rhiannon Henry booked her second final spot of London 2012 as she qualified fourth fastest in the S13 100m Freestyle.

Having finished seventh in last night’s 50m Free, the European champion swam a controlled race over double the distance, touching second in her heat in 1:01.87 to progress.

Heather Frederiksen also reached her second final of London 2012 as she won her S8 50m Freestyle heat.

50m Free isn’t one of my main events so I’m pleased with that and we’ll see what I can do tonight.

Having won silver over 400m Freestyle earlier in the Games, the European record holder cruised through sixth fastest after clocking 32.34.

“50m Free isn’t one of my main events so I’m pleased with that and we’ll see what I can do tonight,” said Frederiksen.

“In Beijing I was seventh in this final – I’m going in sixth here so fingers crossed with a good rest in between I can do something good tonight.”

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