Photo by Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports
PASADENA, California, August 8. ANOTHER truckload of records fell at the Para Pan Pacific Championships in Pasadena last night. Here’s a roundup of some of the best performances of the night.
The record books were rewritten again on the second day of the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Pasadena, California. In the women’s 400-meter freestyle S13 race, American Becca Meyers bested a 5-year-old world (4:28.64), swimming 4:25.31 in the morning preliminary race.
Meyers went on to claim the gold medal in the event during the evening final with a 4:25.58. The event, not contested at the 2012 Paralympic Games, where Meyers made her Paralympic debut with a silver and bronze medal, is slated for inclusion in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“I’m really, really happy with my swims today,” said Meyers, a Timonium, Maryland, native. “I’m so happy that I finally broke the world record in the 400 free. I’m excited that it’s going to be a Paralympic event in 2016 and I’m glad to have the world record as we head into it.”
She’s not content with just one world record here at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. “I’m hoping to break the world record in the 200 [individual medley] on Saturday and the 100 free and 100 breast on Sunday, I just hope to get good times,” Meyers said.
Australian Daniel Fox set two world records on Day 2, first swimming a 25.18 in the men’s 50m free S14 prelim then swimming a 24.77 in the final. Daniel Diaz of Brazil swam a world record 31.94 in the men’s 50m free S5 final.
Team USA leads the medal count through Day 2 with 50 medals (13 golds, 21 silvers and 16 bronzes). Australia is second with 37 medals (22, 11, 4) and Canada is third with 25 (3, 10, 12).
Meyers’ world record was the highlight of an action packed Day 2 that saw Team USA win 23 medals including five gold medals. On the women’s side, Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nevada) swam a 5:28.37 in the women’s 400m free S7 to secure gold while Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) swam a 4:42.91 in the women’s 400m free S8.
“I’m happy with my swims but for me, it’s not about winning right now, it’s about learning,” said Long, a 12-time Paralympic gold medalist who recently relocated to the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. “The Pan Pacs are a learning experience. I’m learning how to apply my new training. I’m learning where I can still improve. I’m really thinking about my races, what I’m doing and I’m taking that back with me so I can apply it later.”
In his first major international event since the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where he won two gold medals and a silver medal, retired U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Maryland) swam a 1:03.66 in the men’s 100m fly S11 and a 26.42 in the men’s 50m free S11 for back-to-back golds. After winning the 400m free S11 on Wednesday, he now has three titles from the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships.
“Today, I was really happy with that 100 fly,” he said. “I think that’s a breakout swim for me. I think it proves that I have a little bit more strength maybe than I had in London. I was able to do it better here than I did at the 2012 Paralympics. The 50 was not quite as fast as I wanted it to be but I’m happy. It’s good to be out there again. It’s good to be competitive. I’m looking forward to bring the momentum that I’m generating here to the world championships and on to Rio.”
The 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships is the largest competition of the year for U.S. swimmers. Other top events on the Road to Rio include the 2015 world championships in Glasgow and the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto. The 2016 Paralympic Games are Sept. 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro.
Nathan Stein of Surrey, B.C., won gold and bronze and Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., added her second victory in two days on Thursday at the Para Pan Pacific Para-swimming championships.
The Canadian team collected two gold, six silver and five bronze on day two of competition along with five more national records to bring its total to 3-10-11.
In the men’s S10 100-m butterfly, Stein smashed the Canadian record held by Benoit Huot clocking 57.77 seconds. Alec Elliot of Waterloo, Ont., a national team rookie, also went under the old 58.91 mark for silver in 57.98 while Ian Silverman of the U.S. was third in 58.19.
Stein missed the world championships in Montreal last year due to knee and shoulder injuries.
‘’I wanted to come back with a vengeance,’’ said Stein, a silver medallist in the 50-m freestyle at the 2012 Paralympics. ‘’Missing the worlds at home last year certainly put a chip on my shoulder. It was a super tough recovery but I’m in better shape than ever.’’
Canada collected five medals in the 100-m butterfly races. Adam Rahier of Powell River, B.C., and Michael Qing of Regina were second and third in the S14 race and Nicholas-Guy Turbide of Quebec City third in the S13.
In the 50-m freestyle, Stein added a bronze, Jean-Michel Lavalliere of Quebec City took silver in the S7 and Maxime Rousselle of St-Jean-sur Richelieu, with a Canadian record, and Dalton Boon of Delta, B.C., won silver and bronze in the S14. Andrew Cooke of Penticton, B.C., was fourth in the S5 in Canadian record time.
Rivard showed no mercy for her opponents winning the women’s S10 400-m freestyle by more than 10 seconds. She also placed first in the 50-m freestyle Wednesday.
‘’That was my fastest time since the Paralympic Games,’’ said Rivard, 18, a quintuple medallist at the world championships last year. ‘’I’m a racer and I think the circumstances today made it tough for me to get my best time.’’
Brianna Nelson of Victoria was second in the women’s S7 50-m butterfly while in the men’s 200-m freestyle, Boon notched silver in a Canadian record in S14 and Danial Murphy of Bedford, N.S., also lowered the national mark for bronze in the S5.
‘’The hard work has really paid off,’’ said Murphy. ‘’I have two Canadian records and I’m feeling really good out there. My turns have improved a lot and that’s allowed me to get the speed I need.’’