Bethany Firth made it a hat-trick of 100m backstroke Paralympic titles while Ellie Simmonds competed in what is likely to be her final-ever race at the Games.
Firth won 100m backstroke S14 in London while swimming for Ireland, and has now won the race in Rio and Tokyo for ParalympicsGB as she made it three in a row in style.
And having won two silver medals already this week, the 25-year-old was thrilled to get back onto the top step of the podium as she won in 1:05.92, with teammate Jessica-Jane Applegate winning bronze.
“It was the event I’ve been focusing on all week so to come away with gold, I’m over the moon,” said Firth.
“You can’t say there’s no pressure on you, so I spoke to my psychologist who helped me understand why I’m here.
“I came out and enjoyed it, and that shows in swimming, when you’re enjoying it you can really thrive.”
Earlier in the session, Paralympic great Simmonds went in the final of the 400m freestyle, finishing fifth in the event that she had won in both Beijing and Rio. Simmonds had initially been disqualified but was reinstated after an appeal from the British team.
She said afterwards that it was likely to be her final Paralympics, reflecting on the journey that has seen her go from winning double Paralympic gold as a 13-year-old in Beijing, to these, her fourth Games, with eight Paralympic medals along the way.
“I think this is going to be my last. I’ll go home and evaluate.” she tearfully told Channel 4.
“To think as an eight-year-old, watching Athens 2004, that I would not just go to one Games but four.
“To go to a home Paralympics, to come away with eight Paralympic medals and being part of that Paralympic movement as well.
“So I think for me, yes, this is going to be my last but I will go home and evaluate.
“I’m not just saying it because I’m gutted or anything like that. I knew going into these Games this was going to be the last.
“I don’t think I could go for another three years. I’m leaving it at the right time, I love it, I’ve absolutely had a wonderful competition and I’ve loved every minute of it.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for the support, my coach, my parents, my sister, family, everyone, for getting me to these Games and helping to get me to four Paralympics which is amazing.
“I love it. There are no words to describe it. I love the Paralympics and I love absolutely everyone on the team, it’s just been incredible but I’m looking forward to going home.”
The baton has been passed at these Games to Maisie Summers-Newton, with two golds to her name including in the 200m individual medley, the event that Simmonds had won at the previous three Games.
And while Summers-Newton could not add another medal to her collection, finishing fourth in the same race, Simmonds was honoured to have played a part in inspiring her successor.
“It has been an amazing part to play – inspiring that next generation,” she said.
“I am honoured. It makes me emotional to think that Maisie and Ellie (Robinson), all those guys and girls were inspired by watching me in 2012. Now they are inspiring the next generation.”
Meanwhile, Reece Dunn won his fifth medal of these Games, a bronze in the 100m backstroke S14, finishing just ahead of teammate Jordan Catchpole in fourth, while Louis Lawlor came eighth in his first event of the Games.
And Toni Shaw narrowly missed out on the medals when she came fourth in the 100m butterfly S9 before being part of the medley relay team that finished in the same position at the end of the session.
Image courtesy: imagecomms