Ellie misses out on golden treble

A hat-trick of gold medals has proved a length too far for swimming sensation Ellie Simmonds.

The teenager, roared on by a near-capacity crowd, swam to silver in the 100m freestyle - losing out to her great rival Victoria Arlen, who broke her own world record.

The 17-year-old, winning her fourth medal of the games, was quick to congratulate the American, hugging her in the pool and then smiling as an adoring crowd showed their appreciation for one of the stars of the Paralympics.

Shouts of "Come on Ellie" reverberated around the packed Aquatics centre before the race, but the crowd's partisan backing was not enough to bring Simmonds her third gold medal of London 2012.

The swimmer, from Walsall, is one of the games' standout performers, having won the nation's hearts by taking golds in the 200m medley and 400m freestyle, as well as bronze in the 50m freestyle event.

The A-Level student, who has dwarfism, has eclipsed her performance in the 2008 Beijing Games where she picked up two golds.

She also smashed the 200m and 400m world records en route to her two gold medals.

Arlen was allowed to race Simmonds after she avoided being reclassified by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in the run-up to the games.

The IPC initially ruled that the American, who was left in a vegetative state for two years after contracting a neurological virus that affected her spinal cord, was ineligible to compete in the same class as Simmonds.

But Arlen successfully appealed and one of the Paralympics' most enthralling rivalries was allowed to continue.