Para-Swimming: Jessica-Jane Applegate beats illness to earn Worlds place

Jessica-Jane Applegate
Jessica-Jane Applegate won two silver medals and a bronze at last year's Paralympics in Rio

Jessica-Jane Applegate is ready to face the challenge of competing at altitude after winning a place in Britain's World Para-Swimming squad.

She earned the chance to take part in Mexico despite ill health hampering her build-up to the recent National Championships in Sheffield.

"I don't know what to expect. I know it's going to be tough.

"The air is thinner and I struggle with breathing anyway," the 20-year-old told BBC Radio Norfolk.

Applegate won three Paralympic medals in Rio last year just nine weeks after a career-saving throat operation.

The Great Yarmouth swimmer was then struck down with tonsillitis and laryngitis after breaking four S14 world records at a meeting in Germany last month.

"I couldn't actually train going into the nationals and I was so stressed out because that was the trials for the World Championships.

"The only things I could eat were ice cream and soup which is not great going into a competition. I had blisters as well on the back of my throat. everything just hit me at once," Applegate said.

"Going into the competition I was worried. Halfway through I went to see a doctor and he changed my medication and towards the end, things got better and better."

So rapid was Applegate's recovery that she set a new world S14 butterfly record with a time of 1 min 04.46 secs.

Last November, she hinted she may have to give up the sport after her funding was cut.

But financial support from her local community in Norfolk has enabled her to persevere with her career and she will be part of a 26-strong team in Mexico from 30 September to 6 October.

"I'll be going out a week before to kind of prepare myself a bit, but who knows what will happen. From what I know, altitude causes extreme tiredness and when you go out for a week to train, that week is just going to be resting because you can't do a lot," she said.

"But it'll be a new experience and it's not just going to be hitting me hard, it'll be hitting everyone, so it is a level-playing field."

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