Ellie Simmonds thrived under pressure once again as Great Britain’s swimmers capped another glorious day at the Rio Paralympics.
Table tennis ace Will Bayley won Class 7 singles gold and Aled Davies won the F42 shot put before Simmonds, Sascha Kindred and Susie Rodgers were triumphant in the pool as Britain’s gold medal tally rose to 28 at the end of day five.
After 38-year-old Kindred won SM6 200 metres individual medley in his final Paralympic race for his seventh gold medal, Simmonds was victorious in the corresponding women’s race.
“I saw him from the call room and I was like ‘oh my God, I’ve got to do it now’,” said the 21-year-old from the West Midlands after claiming a fifth Paralympic gold.
“After watching Sascha get the world record and get a gold medal, it just made me even more nervous.
“I love the pressure. I love that it drives me forward. For me to go against other S6 athletes, I just want to go out there and smash it.
“I was just thinking about me and the water.”
Simmonds won her first two Paralympic titles aged 13 in Beijing in 2008 and is now a five-time gold medallist after successfully defending the individual medley title she won in London four years ago.
She set a Paralympic record in qualifying and a dominant performance in the final saw her win in a world record of two minutes 59.81 seconds.
She targeted a sub-three-minute swim when setting her annual goals last December, but did not tell anyone. “It’s amazing. It’s funny, because I’m the only one that knew,” she added.
Simmonds was due to return to the pool overnight in her favourite event, the 400m freestyle which she won for the first time aged 13 in Beijing and again at London 2012. But she is no longer the world record holder as Ukraine’s Yelyzaveta Mereshko set the mark earlier this year.
“I love the 400,” Simmonds added.
“I broke the world record in 2008 for the first time and I am a distance swimmer. But you never know what the others can do. I can only control myself.”
After Kindred and Simmonds’ successes, Susie Rodgers surprised even herself by winning the S7 50m butterfly in a European record of 35.07.
The 33-year-old Londoner said: “Did that just happen? I just can’t believe it, I’m in total shock.
“I didn’t know where I was. I knew I could do a quick time but never that quick. My job is done, I don’t think this will ever sink in.
“This goes to show that no matter how old you are, you can still pull things out of the bag.”
Georgina Hermitage yesterday won her second gold of the Rio Paralympics – and Great Britain’s 29th – as the Paralympics reached the halfway stage.
The 27-year-old from Alton, Hampshire won the T37 400 metres Paralympic title in a world record of one minute 00.53 seconds, adding to the T37 100m gold she won on day two.