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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Bethany Firth of Great Britain celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's 100m Backstroke - S14 Final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Bethany Firth

Swimming
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Great Britain's Bethany Firth first burst onto the international scene representing Ireland at London 2012. In December 2013, she made the decision to switch nationalities and has proved herself to be a tough competitor in the women's S14.

At London 2012, she swam with a shoulder injury and in 2014 competed with a broken toe.

At the 2015 British Para-Swimming International Meet in Glasgow, Great Britain, Firth set new world records in the 200m individual medley, 100m backstroke and 100m breaststroke.

Firth was firmly on the road to become one of the success stories of the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, until she slipped getting out of the pool in training just weeks before.

The fall resulted in fractured wrist which put Firth out of action.

However, Firth was back in 2016 in time for the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal, where she won her first European titles ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In addition, Firth broke world records in the 100m and 200m freestyle.

Firth left Rio with a golden trio and added a world record in the 100m backstroke for good measure. She was Great Britain's most decorated athlete from the Paralympics.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Intellectual impairment
Classification
S14, SB14, SM14

Further personal information

Residence
Seaforde, NIR
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming in 2008.
Why this sport?
A teacher at her school spotted her potential and asked her parents for permission for her to compete at a competition in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. She won four gold medals at the event.
Club / Team
Ards Swimming Club: Newtownards, NIR
Name of coach
Nelson Lindsay [club]; Rob Aubry [national]
Training Regime
She has three swimming sessions, three gym sessions and three physiotherapy sessions each week. She also does yoga.

General interest

Nicknames
Bethy (culturenorthernireland.org, 06 Jul 2012)
Hobbies
Spending time with family. (newsletter.co.uk, 03 Jul 2017)
Most influential person in career
Her family. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 01 Dec 2016)
Injuries
An ankle injury ruled her out of the 2017 World Championships in Mexico City, Mexico. (bbc.co.uk, 13 Sep 2017)

A fractured wrist meant she was unable to compete at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. (swimswam.com, 02 Jul 2015)

She competed with a broken toe at the 2014 British International Meeting in Manchester, England. She had sustained the injury when she fell getting out of the pool earlier in the competition. (bbc.co.uk, 27 Jun 2014)

She competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London despite suffering from a shoulder injury. (bbc.co.uk, 31 Aug 2012)
Awards and honours
In 2017 she received an honorary degree from Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland. (newsletter.co.uk, 03 Jul 2017)

She was appointed Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [MBE] in the 2017 New Year's Honours list. (paralympic.org, 31 Dec 2016)

She was named Young Player of the Year at the 2012 Belfast Telegraph Sport Awards in Northern Ireland. (ardsswimmingclub.co.uk, 17 Jan 2013)

She was named Swimmer of the Meet at the 2011 British Disability Championships. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 08 Mar 2011)
Milestones
At the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, she was the youngest member of the Irish team at age 16. She won Ireland's first medal at the Games, a gold in the women's S14 100m backstroke. (thejournal.ie, 31 Aug 2012)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.org, 15 Nov 2016)
Impairment
She has an intellectual impairment and problems with her memory. "She might remember what she did three weeks ago, but not yesterday. She might recall something from yesterday, but not last week," her mother Lindsey said. (culturenorthernireland.org, 06 Jul 2012)
Other information
SWITCHING NATIONALITY
In December 2013 she made the decision to compete for Great Britain instead of Ireland. She had represented Ireland at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. "This is about Bethany wanting to be with people who she gets on with, who understand her and Team GB have other S14 swimmers who she is friendly with," her mother Lindsey said. (belfasttelegraph.co.uk, 19 Dec 2013)

Results

Unit Date Rank
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Final Round 2012-08-31 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Heat 2 2012-08-31 2
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB14 Heat 1 2012-09-06 9999
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Final 1 2013-08-12 2
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Heat 2 2013-08-12 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Heat 2 2013-08-14 2
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Final 1 2013-08-14 2
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB14 Heat 1 2013-08-16 3
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB14 Final 1 2013-08-16 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Heat 2 2016-09-08 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S14 Final Round 2016-09-08 1
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Final Round 2016-09-11 1
Women's 200 m Freestyle S14 Heat 2 2016-09-11 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB14 Heat 1 2016-09-14 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB14 Final Round 2016-09-14 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM14 Final Round 2016-09-17 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM14 Heat 2 2016-09-17 1