Paralympics, Swimming: Erin Popovich, Daniel Dias Up To Four Golds Each

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BEIJING, China, September 11. ERIN Popovich of the U.S. and Daniel Dias of Brazil are putting together a pair of impressive meets at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

Popovich is making a serious case to claim Swimming World's Disabled Female Swimmer of the Year award this year. With three gold medals in her coffer already, she pushed that total to four with a Paralympics record time of 5:17.41 in the women's 400 free – S7. That performance gave her two world and two meet records thus far. Cortney Jordan of the U.S. grabbed her third medal of the meet with a second-place 5:21.01, while Germany's Kirsten Bruhn also picked up her third with a bronze-winning 5:28.22.

Dias also is looking good for the Disabled Male Swimmer of the Year award as he finished the day with five individual medals, four of the gold variety. Dias already had three golds, a silver and two world records heading into finals. He added another gold with a world-record time of 2:52.60 in the men's 200 IM – SM5. That performance eclipsed his 2:54.90 set last December. He Junquan of China won his third medal with a silver 3:00.92, while Pablo Cimadevila of Spain took bronze in 3:01.58.

David Roberts of Great Britain scored his second gold of the meet, and his first world record in the men's 400 free – S7. Roberts clocked a time of 4:52.35 to wipe out the 2000 standard of 4:53.75 set by Dean Booth of Australia. Lantz Lamback of the U.S. claimed his third medal with a silver-winning 4:56.46, while Australia's Jay Dohnt took bronze in 4:59.47.

Three newly-minted medalists came out of the men's 50 breast – SB3. Takayuki Suzuki of Japan won in 49.06, while Spain's Vicente Gil (49.91) and Miguel Luque (52.83) rounded out the podium.

Peter Leek of Australia won his second gold with his second world record time off 2:20.92 in the men's 200 IM – SM8. He crushed his previous record of 2:25.51 from earlier this summer. The win brought Leek's medal total to four with two golds, a silver and a bronze. China's Wang Jiachao took second in 2:29.71, while Great Britain's Sam Hynd placed third in 2:29.93.

Jessica Long of the U.S. captured her third gold, and fifth medal overall, with a world-record time of 2:41.85 in the women's 200 IM – SM8. Teammate Amanda Everlove garnered her second silver of the meet with a time of 2:50.51, while Great Britain's Heather Frederiksen added a clean sweep of medal types with a bronze-winning 2:53.15 to add to her gold and silver in the 100 back and 100 free.

Reigning Swimming World Disabled Male Swimmer of the Year Matthew Cowdrey of Australia snared his second gold medal and world record with a time of 2:13.60 in the men's 200 IM – SM9. He knocked three seconds off his global standard of 2:16.32 set in July. The swim also gave Cowdrey his third medal of the meet. Ukraine's Andriy Kalyna finished second in 2:17.21, while Cody Bureau of the U.S. took third in 2:20.21.

Natalie Du Toit of South Africa turned in the title trifecta with her third gold medal. She clocked a world record time of 2:27.83 in the women's 200 IM – SM9 to drop her previous standard of 2:29.92 set in 2005. Canada's Stephanie Dixon placed second in 2:37.54, while Louise Watkin of Great Britain finished third in 2:40.31.

Spain's Enhamed Enhamed won his second gold of the meet with a time of 4:38.32 in the men's 400 free – S11. China's Yang Bozun took second in 4:43.29, while Canada's Donovan Tildesley finished third in 4:49.45.

Sergei Punko of Belarus finally turned silver into gold. After a pair of silver medals in the 100 fly and 100 breast, Punko punched the wall for gold in 4:08.64 in the men's 400 free – S12. He also smashed his world record of 4:11.58 from 2004. Spain's Enrique Floriano placed second in 4:15.89, while Ukraine's Sergii Klippert touched third in 4:19.46.

Rick Pendleton of Australia claimed the gold medal in the men's 200 IM – SM10 with a world-record time of 2:12.78. He surpassed the 2:14.57 set by Benoit Huot in 2007. Brazil's Andre Brasil won his third medal with a silver-winning 2:14.20, while Huot settled for bronze in 2:15.22.

Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand touched first in the women's 200 IM – SM10 with a time of 2:35.21. The finish gave her a second gold medal and third overall. Elodie Lorandi of France finished second in 2:39.28, while Katarzyna Pawlik of Poland placed third in 2:40.41.

China's team of Du Jianping (S3), Tang Yuan (S6), He Junquan (S5) and Yang Yuanrun (S6) broke the men's 200 free relay – 20 points world record to close the night. The foursome won in 2:18.15 to demolish Spain's previous standard of 2:21.89 set in 2006. Spain's team of Richard Oribe (S4), Daniel Videl (S6), Jordi Gordillo (S5) and Sebastian Rodriguez (S5) took second in 2;18.73, also under the previous record, while Brazil's squad of Clodoaldo Silva (S5), Joon Seo (S4), Daniel Dias (S5) and Adriano Lima (S6) took third in 2:30.17.

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