Sunderland swimmer wins bronze in European Championships

Nicole Lough
Nicole Lough
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A SUNDERLAND swimmer is flying the flag for Britain – after adding to her medal collection against the cream of the continent.

Talented teenager Nicole Lough scooped a bronze medal in the IPC Swimming European Championships in Eindhoven last week and played a starring role in the event’s opening ceremony.

Nicole, 19, was among the swimmers flying the Union flag at the opening of the prestigious event, which brings Europe’s best paralympic swimmers together.

And she made waves in the pool – despite the sad loss of her great grandmother Joan Grace, aged 83, just days before the event.

City of Sunderland swimmer Nicole had to fly out for the championships just a day after she passed away.

Mum Sheryl McKenna, who cheered on Nicole in Holland along with her father Andi Lough, said: “She had just lost her nan the Friday before, so it was hard for her.

“We weren’t sure if she was going to be compete. She was her number one fan and they were very close.

“We are really proud of her. She went out and did it for her nan.”

Nicole’s time was so impressive it set a British record for the first 50m and was also her first able-bodied national time.

This means Nicole, who competes in Para-events due to learning disability, hit the qualifying time that means she can compete against able bodied British swimmers in future events.