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Great Britain sets relay world record to take gold medal tally to 12

Great Britain smashed the world record to win the Mixed 4x100m Freestyle S14 title on day four of the World Para Swimming Championships in London.

The event was making its major championship debut and Britain were strong favourites after the success of the 200m Freestyle on the opening day, in which all four swimmers – Tom Hamer, Bethany Firth, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Reece Dunn – all won medals.

Hamer got the Brits off to a strong start, handing over in first place after a blistering first leg of 53.07s.

Firth was next in the water and she did brilliantly to keep Britain in the hunt, as Russia stormed into a commanding lead after sending their two male swimmers in first.

Applegate was tasked with clawing back some of the five-second deficit and she certainly gave Dunn something to chase, leaving the team in second place at the final changeover.

200m Freestyle champion and world record holder, Dunn, produced a blistering swim to chase down the Russians and complete a stunning turnaround.

The British time of 3:42.21 took almost 20 seconds off the previous world record, which had been set by Japan.

Four-some Tai does it again

Alice Tai continued her perfect record at London 2019, winning gold in the Women’s 400m Freestyle S8.

American Jessica Long has been dominant for a decade over the longest distance in the Paralympic programme and she looked set to continue that after a blistering start.

But Tai was composed and made her move with 150 metres remaining.

The Brit, who won gold on each of the opening three days of competition, edged in front at the 300 metre mark and she surged clear from there.

Tai was roared on by hundreds inside the London Aquatics Centre as she touched the wall in 4:49.01 to seal her fourth world title from as many races this week.

Redfern’s dream debut

Rebecca Redfern broke the Women’s 100m Breaststroke SB13 championship record for the second time in a day to win gold.

Making her first appearance at the World Championships, Redfern had her best ever day on the international stage, winning her heat in a record-breaking time of 1:16.56.

That time was almost three seconds shy of Redfern’s personal best and she certainly saved her best for when it mattered most.

The Worcester swimmer charged home to win gold in 1:14.73 for her first ever world title, having won silver in the event at the 2016 Paralympic Games

A jubilant Redfern said: “How amazing is that? I have no words.

“I can never tell where [my rivals] are, I just imagine they’re in front of me all the time.

“My coach said to just go for it in the last 20, ‘you’ve got nothing to lose and if you’ve got anything left in the tank, just go for it’.”

Challis scoots to bronze

One of the loudest cheers of the evening was reserved for Ellie Challis, who produced a stunning swim to win bronze in the Women’s 50m Backstroke S3.

The 15-year-old was making her World Championships debut and she wisely warmed up for the final by swimming a personal best in the heats of the 50m Butterfly S5 earlier in the day.

After riding onto poolside with a gleaming smile, Challis raced with maturity beyond her years.

Unburdened by the pressure of competing in front of a packed home crowd, the Colchester Phoenix swimmer was quick out of the blocks and, most crucially, finished stronger than ever over the final 10 metres.

Challis shaved more than two-and-a-half seconds off her previous PB to seal the bronze medal in 58.91.

More joy for Mullooly

Earlier, Zara Mullooly had got the British charge off to a strong start, finishing fourth in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S10.

Mullooly was chasing her third medal of the week and she fell agonisingly short, but there was plenty of consolation for the Guildford swimmer.

She lowered her own British record to 1:01.28, continuing her standout World Championships debut.

Great Britain have won 12 gold medals in total this week and sit second on the medal table.

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