Three months of hard work is paying off for champion Paralympic swimmer Sophie Pascoe.
Having won six medals at last year's Games in London, the Christchurch 20-year-old is going toe to toe with her great New Zealand rival Mary Fisher, after collecting her second gold medal at the world IPC championships in Montreal today.
Pascoe, who had the lower part of her left leg amputated at two, followed her 100m freestyle gold on day one of the championships with victory in the 100m breaststroke, and in the process got her nose in front in her strong rivalry with Britain's Harriet Lee and Ukrainian Khystyna Yurchenko.
Pascoe won silver at the London Games in the event, which was won by the Ukrainian, with Lee third. She was chuffed to get back to the top of the dais in this event for the first time since the Beijing Paralympics in 2008. Pascoe recorded an Oceania record time of 1min 17.53s, 1.35s ahead of Lee with Yurchenko .01s back in third.
"The rivalry between the three of us in this event is huge," Pascoe said from Montreal.
"Today was a huge relief. It's an amazing feeling - and getting under 1min 18s. In Beijing it was a mission to get under 1:20. To get a '17' and the win is a great stepping stone towards the Commonwealth Games next year."
Pascoe's buildup earlier in the year was patchy, but she put in a strong block of training in Flagstaff, Arizona leading up to Montreal.
"It's all paying off, which is great."
Pascoe has three more events to race - the 100m butterfly and backstroke, and 50m freestyle - after a day off tomorrow.
Wellingtonian Fisher, who also snared golds in her first two events in Montreal, the 100m backstroke and 50m freestyle, had to settle for silver, in the S11 400m freestyle.
German Daniela Schulte won well in 5min 25.24s, but Fisher, who has a genetic eye condition, surged home strongly, touching in 5:28.06s.
Northland's Cameron Leslie bagged a bronze medal in his S5 50m backstroke final - only just.
Leslie clocked 43.78s in touching behind Brazilian Daniel Dias in 35.97s and Britain's Andrew Mullen, 39.21s and a bare .07s ahead of Turkey's Beytullah Eroglu.
Nikita Howarth of Cambridge, the country's youngest Paralympian, was eighth in her S7 category 50m freestyle final, in 37.47s.