Coach's 'exceptional pride' at world record setting swimmer

Jessica-Jane Applegate, Bethany Firth, Jordan Catchpole and Reece Dunn

Great Britain's Jessica-Jane Applegate, Bethany Firth, Jordan Catchpole and Reece Dunn after winning gold in the 4x100m Mixed Relay S14 during day four of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. - Credit: PA

The coach of a gold medal winning Paralympian has spoken of his immense pride at seeing him smash a world record.

Swimmer Jordan Catchpole finished the last leg of the 4x100 S14 freestyle mixed relay event to win gold for Paralympics GB on Saturday.

Catchpole, who has autism and lived in Beccles most of his life, has now added Paralympic gold to his collection, having been a two-time European silver medallist and two-time silver and bronze World Championship medallist.

Beccles swimmer Jordan Catchpole. Picture: Antony Kelly.

Beccles swimmer Jordan Catchpole. Picture: Antony Kelly. - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

His Team Waveney coach Lawrence Lowman, 32, said: "It was absolutely amazing to see someone who has worked so hard for so long realise their dreams in such a public way.

"I'm exceptionally proud of him. It's his first Paralympics.

"He wasn't overly pleased with his result the day before, but to get over it quickly and carry his team home for the gold was a huge moment.

"I couldn't sleep the night before and I was watching it at home screaming the house down - my poor neighbours!"

The Paralympics GB relay team, which also included Reece Dunn, Bethany Firth and Great Yarmouth's Jessica-Jane Applegate, finished the race with a time of 3:40.63, smashing the previous world record of 3:42.21.

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They finished almost six full seconds ahead of silver medallists Australia, and almost 11 seconds ahead of bronze medallists Brazil. 

Mr Lowman, who has trained Catchpole for three years, hailed the 21-year-old for the obstacles he has overcome to reach Tokyo.

He said: "I was absolutely gutted I couldn't be there. We couldn't travel due to Covid restrictions, but he has been great at keeping in touch.

"We were worried about how he'd cope without us or his family there but he has absolutely smashed it and we are all so proud.

"Training during lockdown was difficult too and he had to move to Manchester on his own for three months just to be able to train while the pools were shut, but he was so determined to do it he took it all on his chin."

He will return to the pool on Tuesday, August 31, for the 200m individual medley, and again on Thursday, September 2, for the 100m backstroke.