SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Aug. 13. LED by Amanda Weir's blazing Pan Am record in the 100 freestyle leading off the winning 400 free relay, the United States captured 3 more gold medals and set three more Pan Am records as the 14th Games reached their half-way point.
Weir, who had set a new Games record in the prelims of the 100 freestyle on Monday, recorded the 4th fastest swim ever by an American in the 100 free with a 54.46 clocking. Weir trails only Natalie Coughlin, Jenny Thompson and Dara Torres on the all-time USA Swimming list for the event.
She easily outdistanced the field of lead-off swimmers covering the first 50 in 26.53 and coming home in 27.93. Christina Swindle (55.75), Colleen Lanne (55.99) and Courtney Shealy (55.73) added to the lead as the United States easily captured gold in a Games record 3:41.93. Canada (3:46.65) and Brazil (3:47.25) earned silver and bronze medals respectively.
The evening started off strong for the United States with Elizabeth Hill and Morgan Hentzen finishing 1-2 for the United States in the 400 meter freestyle. Hill was out in a very fast 2:03.70 and came home strong to win in 4:10.48 to erase Sippy Woodhead's 24 year-old mark. Hentzen, earned the silver in 4:13.03 and Monique Ferriera of Brazil was 3rd in 4:14.21.
In the men's 100 freestyle, the US was shut out of the medals for the first time in the competition as Argentinian Jose Meolans earned the gold beating Trinidad & Tobago's George Bovell and Brazil's Gustavo Borges. Meolans winning time was 49.27. American Nick Brunelli finished 4th in a PR 50.04 with teammate Tommy Hannan 7th in 50.66.
The American women kept up their strong night with another 1-2 effort in the 100 backstroke. After qualifying second behind teammate Courtney Shealy, Diana McManus turned the tables winning the gold medal in 1:02.50. Shealy, a 2000 US Olympian in the event, finished 2nd in 1:02.74. Gisela Morales of Guatamala earned the bronze medal in 1:04.56.
Despite some fine swimming by American's Luke Wagner and Joey Faltraco, Brazilian Olympian Rogerio Romero won the men's 200 meter backstroke in 1:59.92. Wagner went a personal best 2:00.74 for the silver medal and Faltraco earned the bronze in 2:01.31.
The 3 gold medals give the US 11 gold medals through the first three days.