Update of Paralympics Day Six: Twelve-Year Old Swimmer Makes Strong First Impression with Third Gold Medal

ATHENS, Greece, September 29. UPDATED reports from day six of swimming in the Athens Paralympic have been received by SwimInfo from USOC press officer for swimming Tara Dugan. She reports that on day six of competition, the U.S. swim team secured six more medals in individual and relay events

First-timers Jessica Long, age 12, (Dundalk, Md.) and Michael Prout (West Springfield, Mass.) once again delivered strong performances, attesting to the breadth of up-and-coming U.S. talent.

Less than a half hour into tonight’s competition, Long brought in her third gold of the Games in the S8 400 freestyle. She left the pack behind within the first 100 meters, steadily building her lead to finish more than 15 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.

“I expected myself to do really well, which I did. If I’m this good at 12, I try to imagine what I’ll be like at 25,” Long said. After smashing the American Record in preliminaries by more than 32 seconds, her time of 5:07.88 in the finals earned her a new Paralympic record.

Another up-and-comer, Prout continued wooing his fans with a second medal performance, this time a gold in the S9 400 freestyle. His time of 4:25.32 also marks a Paralympic record.

During a press conference following the race, silver medalist James Crisp (GBR) admitted he was able to keep up until the last turn, when Prout’s final 100 meter surge put him several seconds ahead of Crisp. In his first Paralympic race Monday, Prout also medaled, earning a bronze in the S9 100 freestyle.

In the women’s S10 400 freestyle, Ashley Owens (Stockbridge, Ga.) won her first individual medal of the Games, finishing third with a time of 4:57.77. Deb Gruen (Hamden, Conn.) also brought in a bronze in the SB6 100 breaststroke with 1:46.52.

Veteran Travis Mohr’s (Whitehall, Penn.) finished second in the SB6 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:29.96. Though second to Great Britain’s Gareth Duke, Mohr still holds the world record in the event. This is Mohr’s second medal of the Games after winning the 100 backstroke two nights ago.

Taking the lead from the U.S. women’s 400 freestyle relay team earlier in the week, Stephanie Brooks (Alpharetta, Ga.), Cheryl Angelelli-Kornoelje (Frasher, Mich.), Casey Johnson (Cypress, Calif.) and Melanie Benn (San Diego, Calif.) provided a stellar finale of the night, with a bronze medal in the last race. They finished the 4x50meter freestyle (20 points) relay in 3:12.80.

Saturday marks another day of opportunity for the U.S. swimmers, as 18 athletes compete in 11 events. Erin Popovich (Butte, Mont.), who has gone 4-4 gold medal performances so far in Athens, will compete for her fifth in the S7 50 butterfly.

Complete results for U.S. athletes listed below:

Men’s SB6 100 breaststroke
1. Izhak Mamistvalov (ISR) – 1:10.88 PR
2. Christos Tampaxis (GRE) – 1:31.00
3. Joao Martins (POR) – 1:37.83
6. Grover Evans (Little Rock, Ark.) – 1:06.23

Men’s S8 400 freestyle
1. Christoph Burkard (GER) – 4:40.30 WR/PR
2. Christopher Kueken (GER) – 4:47.66
3. Mihovil Spanja (CRO) – 4:48.88
7. Justin Fleming (Redmond, Wash.) – 5:04.60

Women’s S8 400 freestyle
1. Jessica Long (Dundalk, Md.) – 5:07.88 PR
2. Lichelle Clarke (AUS) – 5:22.99
3. Heidi Andreasen (FRO) – 5:26.29

Women’s S12 100 freestyle
1. Hong Yan Zhu (CHN) – 1:01.99
2. Patrycja Harajda (POL) – 1:03.52
3. Joanna Mendak (POL) – 1:04.33
4. Trischa Zorn (Fishers, Ind.) – 1:07.58

Men’s SB4 100 breaststroke
1. Tadhg Slattery (RSA) – 1:33.01
2. Kasper Engel (NED) – 1:35.98
3. Pedro Rangel (MEX) – 1:36.31
4. Aaron Paulson (Portland, Ore.) – 1:36.53

Men’s SB6 100 breaststroke
1. Gareth Duke (GBR) – 1:29.93 PR
2. Travis Mohr (Whitehall, Penn.) – 1:29.96
3. Eric Lindmann (FRA) – 1:33.57

Women’s SB6 100 breaststroke
1. Sarah Bowen (AUS) – 1:41.84 WR
2. Liz Johnson (GBR) – 1:45.33
3. Deb Gruen (Hamden, Conn.) – 1:46.52
4. Sarah Castle (Centennial, Colo.) – 1:48.32

Women’s SM13 200 individual medley
1. Kirby Cote (CAN) – 2:31.20
2. Prue Watt (AUS) – 2:34.93
3. Chelsey Gotell (CAN) – 2:34.97
6. Kelley Becherer (Sheboygan, Wisc.) – 2:50.07
7. Tiffanie Wright (Redding, Calif.) – 2:57.61

Men’s S9 400 freestyle
1. Michael Prout (West Springfield, Mass.) – 4:25.32 PR
2. James Crisp (GBR) – 4:28.38
3. Matthew Cowdrey (AUS) – 4:31.80
4. Mark Barr (Davis, Calif.) – 4:33.60
7. Jarrett Perry (Wichita, Kan.) – 4:39.12

Women’s S9 400 freestyle
1. Natalie du Toit (RSA) – 4:28.09
2. Stephanie Dixon (CAN) – 4:46.57
3. Christiane Reppe (GER) – 4:59.91
4. Kelly Crowley (San Jose, Calif.) – 5:17.87

Men’s S10 400 freestyle
1. Benoit Huot (CAN) – 4:15.01
2. Robert Welbourn (GBR) – 4:16.60
3. Piotr Pijanowski (POL) – 4:22.12
8. Justin Zook (Plymouth, Minn.) – 4:35.08

Women’s S10 400 freestyle
1. Katarzyna Pawlik (POL) – 4:51.08
2. Claudia Hengst (GER) – 4:53.55
3. Ashley Owens (Stockbridge, Ga.) – 4:57.77

Women’s 4x50m freestyle 20 points
1. Japan – 3:00.62 WR/PR
2. Great Britain – 3:12.75
3. United States – 3:12.80

Additional quotes from U.S. athletes competing Thursday:

Jarrett Perry, on his first Paralympic experience:
“I consider this a learning experience. I”ve learned you don’t have to be nervous about it [the race] going in. Just go out there and have fun. I’m going to come back in four years with the boys here and win more medals for the U.S. in 2008.

Deb Gruen, on winning a bronze medal:
“I was ready, so pumped up and confident. I knew I had it in me, and everyone else knew I had it in me.”

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