Commonwealth swimming champion Bethany Firth’s mum has spoken of how proud she was to watch her daughter win a gold medal.

on BBC Good Morning Ulster, Lindsey Firth, from Seaforde in Co Down, said it was a “surreal” moment.

“Bethany didn’t know how to 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 weird, we were on the tram yesterday and someone said, ‘Who are you rooting for’ and I said Bethany Firth.

“They said, ‘we know her.’ And these are people from England and Scotland. I’m so proud of her.”

Speaking about Bethany’s journey, she explained that her learning difficulties meant she could forget things and she was “petrified” of water.

After her swim coach encouraged her to take lessons, her natural ability soon led to competitive swimming.

“I laughed and said, ‘But she can’t swim.’

She also praised coach Nelson Lindsay and Swim Ulster for their continued support over the years.

In an emotional post-race interview, Bethany also thanked her family for always supporting her athletic dreams and expressed her joy as a young woman that her husband could join her in the competition.

“I felt very good, I am very grateful 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 can make them proud.”

Lindsay replied: “She definitely makes us proud … it was just amazing to be there.

“I would have been very scared if I didn’t stand and cheer her on with my sister, husband, grandparents. It was just amazing.”

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