By Duncan Mackay

Jessica-Jane Applegate in poolApril 2 - Britain's Jessica-Jane Applegate, winner of the S14 200 metres freestyle at London 2012, has set her sights on competing against able-bodied swimmers this year.

The 16-year-old City of Norwich swimmer dominates her class and hopes the step-up will help keep her sharp.

"She is the standout competitor in the S14 category at the moment and in disability swimming," her coach Alex Pinniger told BBC Radio Norfolk.

Applegate's target is to qualify for the National Youth Championships in the summer, as well as competing at the the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Montreal in August.

Jessica Jane-Applegate at Buckingham Palace where she received an MBE during an investiture ceremony on March 12 2013Jessica-Jane Applegate at Buckingham Palace where she received an MBE during an investiture ceremony last month

"The goals are to achieve a top-20 finish at the able-bodied youth nationals," said Pinniger.

"She's inching closer.

"She's seven hundredths off the qualifying time.

"So she's very close.

"And she's about two tenths of a second away from a top-20 finish.

"It will be great to see how far up the rankings she can go.

"She has to overcome a lot of obstacles that able-bodied swimmers would take for granted, so it would be a phenomenal achievement to step up."

Applegate, who has Asperger's syndrome, is still improving as the build-up to Rio 2016 begins to pick-up, claimed Pinger.

"I've been coaching her for 18 months and in that time she's broken 70 British records," he said.

"I don't know of many British swimmers that can boast those results.

"She has a will to win - a hunger and desire to win races."

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