Jessica Jane Applegate MBE PLY

Paralympic Swimmer, Inclusion Campaigner

Image of Jessica Jane

I was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Before even starting nursery, I had numerous development issues and was diagnosed with learning disabilities. I have had lots of surgeries and as a teenager I was told I was on the autistic spectrum due to my social and communication difficulties.

I began swimming as it was more of a solo sport with less interaction, somewhere where I could be free and be myself where I felt comfortable.

I turned 16 years old at the holding camp at the London Paralympic Games then days later I won gold in the S14 200m Freestyle. I was awarded an MBE in December 2012. Since then, I have become ambassador for Mencap (charity which supports people with learning difficulties and their families across the UK) and Virtus (global organisation for athletes with an intellectual impairment). I visit parliament to campaign, attend events and visit schools, do online talks and promote inclusion.

I have also qualified for every single international event since London 2012 becoming Paralympic Champion, World Champion, European Champion and achieving 36 international medals for Great Britain along the way.

“I love love love swimming and sport. I am just trying to make it even easier and more accessible for the next generation so more people can enjoy it plus all the health benefits that come with it.”