Swimming: Heather Frederiksen's brave recovery earns golden reward


For one night – and quite possibly one night only – Ellie Simmonds did not emerge from the Paralympic pool as Britain's star. Instead it was Heather Frederiksen, a 26-year-old driving instructor who was lying in a hospital bed in March, who shone brightest on a rewarding night for the home nation.

Frederiksen secured her second medal of the Games, with gold the result of a commanding swim in the S8 100m backstroke, surging away from Jessica Long, the American with three gold medals already to her name, over the final 50m. It meant Frederiksen defended the title she won in Beijing and has done so off the back of only six weeks training.

Towards the end of last year Frederiksen, a former British champion in open water swimming before an accident left her with limited use of her right arm and leg, began to have serious headaches. By spring she was in hospital being treated for neuralgic migraines. By the time she was released she had lost part of her sight in her right eye and the Paralympics seemed beyond her reach.

On Friday she achieved her pre-Games aim of winning a medal, any medal, when she took silver behind Long in the 400m freestyle. Long had arrived in London with hopes of winning nine golds but Frederiksen reduced that total by at least one last night. It had looked the likeliest outcome since the morning heats when Frederiksen, a friend of Rebecca Adlington from their days competing against each other in junior events, qualified four seconds clear of the field. Last night she led from the off and eased clear of Long to win by more than one and a half seconds.

On another rowdy evening in the Aquatics Centre – a venue that has bounced through the Paralympics with a noticeably more fevered atmosphere (the reason is simple enough: British success) – Simmonds took a respectable bronze in the S6 50m freestyle. "I'm happy with that," she said.

The 17-year-old had qualified fourth fastest for the weakest of her four events but snatched bronze over the last couple of strokes from the German Tanja Groepper. Gold went to Simmonds' great rival, the Netherland's Mirjam de Konig-Peper, with Victoria Arlen of the United States taking silver. Simmonds now has a break until Saturday when she will complete her programme in the 100n freestyle, and try to regain the world record Arlen took off her in June.

Stephanie Millward also collected her third medal of the Games, a silver in the S9 400m freestyle, a race effortlessly won by the great Natalie du Toit. It was the 12th Paralympic gold of the South African's career. Millward, who trains alongside Simmonds in Swansea, now has two silvers and a bronze in London.

Oliver Hynd earned his second medal in his first Paralympics, the 18-year-old taking bronze in the S8 100m backstroke in the first race of the night to add to a silver in the 400m freestyle.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam