Sophie Pascoe picked up her third gold medal of the London Paralympic Games this morning (NZT), getting one back over rival Summer Ashley Mortimer of Canada.
The 19-year-old from Christchurch took out the S10 100m freestyle in a new Paralympic record of one minute and 0.89 seconds and now has five medals from these Games. It eclipses the four she collected in Beijing four years ago.
Pascoe broke the record in her heat and then went even better in the final to beat France's Elodie Lorandi by 0.2 seconds with Mortimer third in 1:01.58.
"It was just head down and suck it up on the way back,'' Pascoe said of her swim. "I just really wanted that gold. That's why there were tears at the end.
"It hurt a lot in the last 15m but I wanted it so badly and it showed what you want, you get.''
Grabbing the gold brought a sigh of relief to Pascoe and coach Roly Crichton knowing this event has brought about the biggest amount of improvement since her debut Games four years ago.
"This race meant a lot to me and Roly. We've worked for two years on this, the 100 freestyle. We were fifth in Beijing and to come out with a gold here four years later, it's a great feeling.''
Although delighted with the result, Pascoe was disappointed with her time.
"I'm pretty gutted I didn't do the sub-one minute,'' she said. "I would have loved to do that here but we'll save that for another day and tonight was just about going out there and beating those two girls. We are friends outside of the pool but we're rivals in it.''
Pascoe's gold was the 14th medal for New Zealand at the Paralympic Games, and are still 21st on the medal table.
Auckland's Rebecca Dubber finished fifth in the S7 400m freestyle final won by Australian Jacqueline Freney in a world record of 4:59.02. It was Freney's seventh gold of the Games.
Cameron Leslie was fifth in the S5 50m backstroke final in an Oceania record time of 42:40.
Cyclist Fiona Southorn was the best of the Kiwis in the road races, finishing 10th in the C4/5 event.
Chris Ross was 18th in the men's C4/5 road race and Nathan Smith didn't finish the C1-3 race.