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World Para-swimming European Championships: GB's Tully Kearney wins gold in Dublin
The 21-year-old Briton was forced to pull out of the Rio Paralympics with a shoulder injury.
It started a deterioration in her neurological condition dystonia and left her battling for her career.
"I'm in pain every day and it hurts to swim, but it is well worth it for this," she told BBC Sport.
Kearney's gold was one of six in a 10-medal haul for the Great Britain team on the penultimate day of competition.
Alice Tai and Hannah Russell both won their third gold medals in the S8 100m butterfly and S12 100m freestyle while there was also gold for Jessica Jane Applegate (S14 100m butterfly), Ellie Robinson (S6 50m butterfly) and 15-year-old Toni Shaw in the 400m S9 event.
Kearney, who was born with cerebral palsy, was tipped as a star when she won four golds at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow.
She was diagnosed with dystonia approaching her teens, but the shoulder problem triggered an adverse reaction within her body, starting in her shoulder but spreading throughout her limbs.