Robinson and Applegate bring curtain down with gold

22 May 2021

Ellie Robinson saved her best for last by flying to victory in the Women's S6 50m Butterfly on the final day of competition at the World Para Swimming European Open Championships - while Jessica-Jane Applegate completed her perfect record for the week.

Rio 2016 champion Robinson was always likely to catch the eye in her favoured event - and she did not disappoint, leading from the first few strokes to finish clear of Republic of Ireland's Nicole Turner for a fantastic gold medal.

Ellie's time of 36.39 was also good enough to see her under the consideration time for Paralympic selection. All in all, it was a result that has the 19-year-old looking forward to what could be on the horizon in the coming months.

"I'm actually quite relieved and quite surprised as well. Obviously it's been a different year for everyone and I've had a couple of my own challenges, so to come to this competition relatively unprepared and to perform the way I've done in the 50m Butterfly, I'm actually very happy," she said.

"If you look at the time on its own, then perhaps I wouldn't be - but given the circumstances, I'm incredibly happy. Knowing that things are improving and I know things are heading in the right direction, I'm actually excited to see what I can do when all the stars are aligned. To swim a time like that, I'm excited to see what I can do with some really good training under my belt.

"Seeing everyone again has been great. I've actually had the chance to practice some of my language skills - and when I say practice, I mean horrifically fail at! It's been nice to see people again, to have that interaction again face-to-face rather than virtually, it's been a gift.

"Things are starting to look more positive for me. Now it's about going back, getting some decent training under my belt and really pushing to see what we can do in Tokyo, building on what I've done at this competition."

Robinson's success was followed up by a memorable moment for Applegate, who completed a stunning clean sweep with her fourth European title of the meet. 

The City of Norwich competitor had said beforehand that the S14 100m Butterfly would be a tough contest after her previous efforts, but she showed little sign of being held back by those exertions, powering into the lead at the turn and bringing it home with fine composure.

"That was really hard! I said last night that it would be painful, but wow, my legs!" said Jessica-Jane.

"Do you know what makes it so much easier, it's the girls I race with. They're absolutely amazing, and each one of them, we're best friends outside the pool. They make it so much more enjoyable - and I've really enjoyed the competition.

"In the back of my mind, I had what I wanted to go while here, but there was a bit of me that just wanted to get the consideration time - and I think I got it in that race, so fingers crossed."

Jessica-jane applegate euro21 Gold 4
Jessica-Jane Applegate (centre) has enjoyed a stellar meet

Despite taking a team of only eight athletes to the Championships, these two medals ensured GB finished ninth in the table, with five golds, two silvers and three bronzes to their name.

The final day of action in Madeira also saw the European campaigns of four other British athletes come to a close. 

Michael Jones put in a pair of consistent swims in the Men's S7 100m Freestyle to qualify for the final and ultimately finish sixth. Jones also competed in the S7 50m and 400m Freestyle - his primary event - on his return to the European stage. 

Stephanie Millward was another experienced British athlete to be grateful for the opportunity to compete against rivals from the continent and further afield in Madeira. She made the Women's S9 50m Freestyle final, finishing eighth - the same position she achieved in the SB8 100m Breaststroke contest. 

In the SM13 200m Individual Medley, Abby Kane sat third after a strong backstroke leg, before dropping back a place to touch fourth in heat one. Agonisingly, Kane missed out on the final by a single position, meaning the end of a very busy week for the North Ayrshire racer.

Northampton's Will Perry was one of only two non-Paralympians on the British team, and he has repeatedly spoken of the valuable experience he has gained during his first senior international competition. Perry rounded out his meet in the S6 50m Butterfly heats.