ALICE Tai’s rivalry with Jessica Long is quickly becoming something of a modern classic.

For the second night running at the World Para Swimming Championship, the New Milton star has got the better of her cross-Atlantic rival, on Thursday collecting a fourth gold medal in as many nights, this time in the 400m freestyle S8.

And in what was a markedly longer-form distance to her previous three triumphs this week at the London Aquatic Centre, Tai gave everything to overcome a commanding lead that the American had built up by the halfway stage.

“I had to dig really deep,” she said. “From the previous races, looking at her splits, I know that her back end is super strong, so I was honestly scared after I overtook her that she would just come back at me in the last length.

“I was gritting my teeth, closing my eyes and trying to dig in to get every ounce of energy out. I honestly didn’t expect to win that, so it’s a bit emotional for me. I’m kind of in shock.

“I definitely prefer sprints, 400s are a lot more tiring for me. We’ve been working hard in training because I knew that it would be a medal opportunity, which has paid off, which is crazy.

“I watched other athletes achieve stuff like this and, to be part of that group, winning medals every day, is something that I would never have thought of, ever.”

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