Swimming Begins with a USA “Bang” at 2004 Athens Paralympics -- September 21, 2004
ATHENS, Greece, September 21. PARALYMPIC competition is being held September 17 - 28 in the same host city as the recently completed summer Olympic Games. Swimming began September 19, and Julie O’Neill, U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Program Manager, reports the American squad is off to a great start:
USA Dominates SM7 200 IM
Team USA’s first two gold medals came in the SM7 200 Individual Medleys on Sunday evening.
Rudy Garcia-Tolson easily won the men’s event in a time of 2:43.65 to cap off his world record swim (2:42.20) from the morning preliminaries. Taking it out in American record time (50 fly) for the first 50, Rudy steadily gained on the field and put the race away during the breaststroke leg, finishing over 10 meters ahead of his competitors.
In the women’s race Erin Popovich won the gold with a world record time of 3:05.57. Popovich had a strong finish, passing China’s Min Huang in the last 10 meters of the race. This is the second consecutive Games where Popovich has set a world record in this event, as she broke the women’s SM6 record in 2000 at the Sydney Games.
NEWS & NOTABLES….
Rudy Garcia-Tolson smashed the world record in the preliminaries of the Men’s SM7 200m Individual Medley, setting a new mark of 2:42.20!
12 of 18 swims by Team USA on Day 1 advanced to the finals.
Team USA set 7 American, 1 Pan American, 2 Paralympic Games and 1 World Record in the Preliminaries on Day 1.
Melanie Benn was the medalist for Team USA with a bronze in the Women’s S4 100m Freestyle.
Team USA set 4 American, 1 Pan American, 1 Paralympic Games and 1 World Record in the Finals on Day 1.