AS birthday presents go, breaking a world record is not bad.

That is exactly how Judy Brown celebrated her 55th birthday as she took more than a second off the previous best 200m backstroke time on Sunday.

It completes a stunning comeback from Warrington Masters Swimming Club member Brown, who had extensive treatment for breast cancer in 2015.

Brown faced a tough task in the 55-59 age group at the London Regional Masters Swimming Championships as she faced off against Karlyn Pipes – a member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame who has more than 200 world masters records to her name.

The 200m backstroke was one of the records Pipes held going into the gala and she got away to a good start in the four-length race, but Brown was clearly in the mood.

After clawing back the American’s early lead to finish the second length level, Brown kicked hard and swam strongly to pull away in the race’s third length and establish a lead.

She then sprinted home on the fourth and final length to stop the clock at 2mins 36.61secs and claim the gold medal.

Warrington Guardian:

Judy Brown at the Olympic pool

Having fallen some way short of the record on two recent outings, Brown thought she may not be able to get past the mark.

However, she believes racing against Pipes in the pool that hosted the 2012 Olympic Games swimming events unlocked another level of performance.

“The day of the race was my 55th birthday and what a fantastic birthday it turned out to be!” she said.

“It was a really big race for me – I’d swum a second slower than the record on two recent occasions and wasn’t sure if I was capable of beating it.

“Swimming against Karlyn added that extra pressure which seemed to bring out the best in me on the day.

“A huge thanks to my family, Warrington Masters SC and to Livewire for all their support.”