Darlington 'Golden Girl' wins eight medals at World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships

Kris Jepson went to meet super swimmer Scarlett Jones and see her haul of medals

A schoolgirl from Darlington has won eight medals at the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships held in Turkey.

Scarlett Jones, 16, secured gold six times in the junior races, plus a silver. She also won a silver in the adults relay race.

Swimming a variety of strokes, the Hurworth School pupil smashed the junior European record in the 200m freestyle race.

Scarlett told ITV News Tyne Tees what the medal haul meant to her.

She said: "When I got my gold medals presented, I felt happy about it. I felt ok with it. I felt extremely tired still. When we finished the crowd was cheering and dancing around and clapping."

Scarlett Jones poolside Credit: ITV News

Scarlett, who represents Darlington Amateur Swimming Club, was competing for Team GB against 24 other nations from across the globe, with her parents Tim and Diane Jones watching from the stand.

Mum Diane, said: "Oh, my husband and I did have a tear in our eye when she got her medals, because I mean it was a fantastic achievement. We were so proud, I mean, she’s worked really hard and to get to the World Down Syndrome Games is a massive achievement. At 16, she was one of the youngest competitors there, so that was a really good achievement.

"It’s quite nerve-racking watching as a parent. Tim and I had butterflies in our stomachs when she was stood, just in case she did a false start, but no, she did do really well and she swam her heart out.

"To be only 16 and to be competing against the adults, it was very impressive."

Scarlett in the pool Credit: ITV News

Scarlett attended a camp in Scotland in 2023, run by Down Syndrome Swimming Great Britain. Following her performance there, her gala times were so good that she was selected for Team GB.

One of the swimming teachers at Darlington's Dolphin Centre, who taught her to swim from the age of three, said she always knew Scarlett could achieve great heights.

Lindsey Allinson said: "You know we go through on a Tuesday night and she’s there and she’s putting 100 per cent in there and up and down in the lanes and just looking to improve and take those little tiny bits off now.

"You know, little tweaks here and there and watching her do that and learn and still grow and now achieve and see what else she can achieve in the future. I’d like to think she can go as high as she can. You know, world records are out there and let’s see if we can attain them."

Scarlett is now aiming to secure a place at the European Down Syndrome Swimming Championships in Portugal 2025.

Scarlett's medals Credit: ITV News

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