Rio Olympics

Co Down swimmer Bethany Firth secures Rio gold medal in world record time

Co Down swimmer Bethany Firth celebrates winning gold in the women's 100m backstroke S14 Final at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Rio. Picture by Adam Davy/PA

CO Down swimmer Bethany Firth set a new world record time as she won gold at the Paralympic Games in Rio.

The 20-year-old from Seaforde retained the S14 100m backstroke title on Thursday clocking a time of one minute 04.05 seconds to beat the previous record of 1:04.53 she set in the heats earlier in the day.

Firth had won gold in the same event for Ireland at London 2012 as a 16-year-old.

She switched allegiance following the London games to have the support of British Swimming.

Firth said the team had been inspired after fellow competitor Ollie Hynd added gold in the S8 400m freestyle in the swimming pool.

"Seeing Ollie win his gold really inspired us and we're all on a high from that," said Firth, who competes in a class for the intellectually disabled,

"It feels amazing. I'm just so happy. I've had a lot of setbacks in the last four years, breaking my wrist. I'm so glad to have retained my title."

Firth's team-mate Jessica-Jane Applegate also won bronze in the same event.

Firth will be back in action on Sunday in another of her strongest events, the 200m freestyle.

She will also compete in the 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley later in the Games.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Rio Olympics