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World record-breaking relay team take Paralympic gold in Tokyo

The British Mixed S14 4x100m Freestyle Relay team set a new world record on their way to becoming Paralympic champions in Tokyo.

The quartet of Reece Dunn, Bethany Firth, Jessica-Jane Applegate and Jordan Catchpole broke the previous world record, also set by Great Britain, by 1.58 seconds.

They won the final by a huge 5.75 seconds, with their nearest competitors in the Australian team taking the silver medal in 3:46.38.

Dunn, who already had two individual medals to his name – one gold and one silver, swam a superb opening 100m in 51.15.

Next up was Firth who clocked a time of 57.77 for her leg before handing over to Applegate whose sensational swim put Britain in a great position ahead of the final leg.

The anchor leg was swam by Team Waveney’s Catchpole who brought it home in a time of 52.68 to add to ParalympicsGB’s medal haul.

Following the win, Dunn said: “I think it was a great race. We knew we could stand a good chance if we all put a good time in. I wanted to get close to the sub 51 mark on that first leg just to make Bethy’s job a bit easier.”

Describing the team camaraderie, he added: “We’re like best mates. It’s good to have a bit of banter with your mates as well and most importantly enjoy the race.”

When we come together we’re a proper team

Firth continued: “I feel like when we all come together we swim really well as a team. I had them beside me so I wasn’t as nervous as when I swim individually.

“It was good. I just enjoyed being with everyone so it was nice to get in and race.”

When asked what breaking the world record means, she added: “So much, I think we all do Great Britain so proud when we all swim individual events and against each other but when we come together we’re a proper team and I think that showed in the pool tonight.”

Applegate added: “It was really exciting and for me personally, I just knew that I had to chase those other people down because I had to make it as easy for Jordan as possible.”

Discussing his final leg, Catchpole said: “I saw Jess close the gap on the Australian’s and I heard Reece as I’m about to dive in just ‘safe takeover, safe takeover’ – so I just watched her touch and then I just knew all I had to do was bring it back.”

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