The mother of Commonwealth swimming champion Bethany Firth has spoken of how proud she is to see her daughter secure a gold medal.
Lindsey Firth, from Seaforde in Co Down, told BBC Good Morning Ulster it was a “surreal” moment.
“Bethany couldn’t swim until she was 13, and here we are 13 years later with all these medals and people who actually know her name,” she said.
“It’s amazing, we were on the tram yesterday and someone said ‘Who are you supporting’ and I said Bethany Firth.
“They said ‘We know them.’ And these are people from England and Scotland. I’m just so, so proud of her.”
Speaking about Bethany’s journey, she explained that her learning disability has caused her to forget things and she is “petrified” by water.
After a swimming coach encouraged her to take lessons, her natural gift soon enabled her to compete in swimming.
“I laughed and said ‘but she can’t swim’.”
She also praised coaches Nelson Lindsay and Swim Ulster for their constant support over the years.
In an emotional post-race interview, Bethany also thanked her family for always supporting her sporting dreams and expressed her joy as a newlywed that her husband was able to join her at the competition.
“I felt really good, I’m so thankful to be here. My family can be here because they couldn’t [go to] Tokyo,” she said.
“They do so much for me and I love them so much I hope I make them proud.”
Lindsey replied: “She definitely makes us proud… it was just amazing to be there.
“I would have been really disappointed if I didn’t cheer for her with her sister, husband, grandma and grandpa. It was just amazing.”
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/she-couldnt-swim-until-she-was-13-bethany-firths-proud-mum-on-daughters-commonwealth-gold-41889123.html ‘She couldn’t swim until she was 13’: Bethany Firth’s proud mum on daughter’s Commonwealth gold