Kirty’s medal treble at big national event

Kirsty Stewart swimming in the 100m freestyle at the Special Olympics National Summer Games
Kirsty Stewart swimming in the 100m freestyle at the Special Olympics National Summer Games

Kirsty Stewart produced a magnificent performance to win three gold medals in the 9th Special Olympics National Summer Games at the University of Bath.

The Bexhill Swimming Club talent now has qualifying times to be put forward for the Special Olympics World Games which are being held in 2015 in Los Angeles.

Stewart gained bronze medals in the 100m freestyle and breaststroke events, and in the 4x50m medley relay where she swam the breaststroke leg. She also came fifth in the 50m breaststroke.

The Special Olympics National Summer Games take place every four years and the latest staging attracted more than 1,700 athletes in 12 sports, making it the largest disability multisport event in the country this year.

The South East region of East and West Sussex, Brighton, Kent and Surrey consisted of 141 athletes, and 56 coaches and escorts, making it the fourth largest delegation. Stewart was the only member of the 24-strong swimming team representing East Sussex at the new 10-lane 50m swimming pool in Bristol.

The opening ceremony was held in front of the iconic Royal Crescent in Bath. After the parade of athletes entered the crescent, the crowd was entertained by fire performers and singers, the highlight being a performance by Susan Boyle. Laurie McMenemy MBE, president of Special Olympics Great Britain, began the official proceedings, followed by Jason Gardner, Olympic gold medallist and Games Ambassador.

An address was made by actor Colin Salmon, new ambassador of Special Olympics GB, and there were video messages from Prime Minister David Cameron and Lord Coe.