Nine ParalympicsGB swimmers progress to evening finals

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Ellie Simmonds booked her place in a 17th Paralympic final in the 400m freestyle, joined by Maisie Summers-Newton and Grace Harvey as a bumper night of swimming finals awaits.

The 26-year-old eased down in a 5:27.64 heat swim that saw her second behind China’s Yuyan Jiang, who broke the S6 Paralympic record with 5:14.52.

Simmonds won back-to-back gold medals in the event at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 before bringing home bronze at Rio 2016.

“It’s now just go back, rest up – it’s going to be a tough final tonight, one last race so I’ll go for it,” she said.

Harvey, hoping to build on 100m breaststroke silver, finished third in the heat six seconds behind Simmonds while double gold medallist Summers-Newton also comfortably advanced in 5:23.91.

Meanwhile, Bethany Firth looked the class of the field in her favourite event and qualified fastest for a tilt at a third successive 100m backstroke S14 title.

Firth, who has two individual silvers to show for her Tokyo campaign, touched in 1:07.16 to go one-two in her heat with Jessica-Jane Applegate and secure the centre lanes.

Russian Paralympic Committee’s Valeriia Shabalina was third fastest and the trio are likely to tussle for podium places once again.

Triple S14 gold medallist Reece Dunn swam his first 100m backstroke race at a major championship in Thursday morning’s heats and progressed second fastest to the final.

The Plymouth star looked relaxed for in a time of 1:00.37 in a heat where Australia’s Ben Hance set a new Games record.

There will be three Brits in the final with world bronze medallist Louis Lawlor finishing fourth in that fast heat and Jordan Catchpole second with 1:01.50 in his preliminary.

Toni Shaw laid down a smooth 100m butterfly S9 heat with 1:10.41 seeing her through to make it nine British swimmers in individual finals tonight.

Ellie Challis capped an excellent Paralympic debut, that yielded a silver medal, with a 50m freestyle S4 British record of 54.94 to finish 13th overall.

And Lyndon Longhorne’s busy week that sees him racing no fewer than six individual events continued with 16th place in the men’s 50m freestyle S4.

Courtesy of ParalympicsGB