GOLDEN girl Scarlett Jones has returned from the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships with a clutch of medals and a European record.

The 16-year-old Hurworth School pupil broke the junior European record while swimming for Team GB in the 200m freestyle in the championships in Turkey.

Scarlett, who lives in Hurworth-on-Tees, near Darlington, competed in a variety of events and returned from the games with six junior gold medals, one junior silver, and a silver in the adults’ relay team.

Her medal haul was a significant contribution to Team GB coming out top in the overall team event against 24 other countries.

The Northern Echo: Scarlett Jones with her clutch of medals at home in HurworthScarlett Jones with her clutch of medals at home in Hurworth (Image: Peter Barron)

“I’m really happy because I’ve worked hard since I started swimming when I was three,” said Scarlett, who represents Darlington Amateur Swimming Club.

Scarlett travelled to Turkey for the five-day competition with mum Diane, dad Tim, and twin sister Zara, who is also swims for Darlington. She also has an older sister, Stella.

Her mum said: “We’re so proud of what she’s achieved, and it means so much to us as a family because it’s meant Scarlett being involved in the wider community and making new friends.”

Diane also paid tribute to the support Scarlett has had from Hurworth School, where she’s on an education, health and care plan.

“The support has been excellent. She’s felt included and been encouraged to get involved in sports like netball, and she’s also swum for the school.”

The Northern Echo: Scarlett training in the Dolphin Centre pool. Picture: Chris BarronScarlett training in the Dolphin Centre pool. Picture: Chris Barron (Image: Chris Barron)

Scarlett has also been supported by the Hurworth Rogers Trust, which was established when villager, Brian Rogers, left a large sum in his will to be used to support local good causes.

Scarlett started swimming at the Dolphin Centre, in Darlington, when she was three, and joined Darlington Amateur Swimming Club when she was 10. She trains five times a week at the Dolphin Centre, and with North East Disability Swimming in Durham once a month.

Last year, she was invited to attend a camp in Scotland, run by Down Syndrome Swimming Great Britain, and her gala times continued to be monitored before she was selected for Team GB.

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“We’re a very sporty family and we took the decision right from the start to include Scarlett in whatever Zara was doing. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but the hard work has been worth it, and now we have to keep striving for the next thing,” added Diane.

Scarlett, who attended Hurworth Primary School, is now aiming for the Down Syndrome European Swimming Championships, in Portugal, next year. However, before that, she’s working hard to pass her GCSEs before moving on to Darlington College.

Hurworth’s Head of School, Rachel Somerville, said: “Scarlett is an amazing student who deserves every success, and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”