2019 Pan American Games: Andrew Abruzzo Earns America’s First Gold

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The 2019 Pan American Games entered its first night of competition in Peru, as athletes from the Americas convened for an intracontinental showdown. Positioned at the end of a climactic summer, the Games had much work to do in the immediate aftermath of the World Championships. In true form, however, the athletes delivered, kicking off the event in a way that sent shockwaves throughout the swimming community. A mere tease of what is to come, tonight’s events showcased the strength of the Americas, as Lima revs up for an exciting week of competition.

Andrew Abruzzo tallied the U.S.’s first gold with an impressive 3:48.41 to start the men’s schedule in the 400 free. Despite getting a slow start off the block–he boasted a reaction time of 0.82–Abruzzo managed to cinch a decisive win, bettering Fernando Scheffer’s (3:39.60) mark by over a second. Brazil’s Luiz Melo barely conceded the silver to his teammate, throwing up a 3:49.91 for third ahead of the America’s Christopher Wieser (3:50.39).

Latin America continued to impress, as Venezuela’s Rafael Davila made one of his first big appearances since NCAA’s, crashing the pads with a 3:52.27 to edge out Mexico’s Ricardo Vargas (3:52.68). El Salvador’s Marcelo Acosta and Columbia’s Santiago Corredor (a current University of Florida Gator) brought up the rear with times of 3:54.20 and 3:56.00, respectively.

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