Bethany Firth wins silver medal at IPC European Championships in Madeira

Bethany Firth is making her Great Britain debut in Madeira
Bethany Firth has qualified to compete in four events at this year's Paralympics in Rio

County Down swimmer Bethany Firth clinched a 100m breaststroke silver medal for Britain at the IPC European Championships in Madeira on Wednesday.

London 2012 Paralympics gold medallist Firth, 20, was in second spot behind Spain's defending champion Michelle Alonso Morales who won in 1:13.46.

The Seaforde woman was 0.85 seconds behind as she won silver on her major championship debut for Britain.

Firth represented Ireland in London before switching allegiance to Britain.

After producing a morning heat time of 1:16.08, Firth led early in Wednesday evening's final but the Spaniard moved ahead after 25 metres and held off a strong challenge from the Northern Irishwoman on the second length.

Firth gained ground at the turn but Alonso Morales, who won the event at the 2011 and 2014 European Championships, pulled clear again in the closing 40 metres.

The county Down woman was scheduled to compete in the 100m backstroke on Tuesday but missed the race after her flight to Madeira was cancelled.

Firth will also compete in the medley on Saturday.

She qualified for four disciplines at the Rio Paralympics at the British Para-swimming trials for the Olympics in Glasgow last week.

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