Jessica Long, Rudy Garcia-Tolson Selected to Fifth Paralympics for Team USA

Rudy Garcia Tolson; Photo Courtesy: Kevin McCarthy

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Jessica Long, Rudy Garcia-Tolson Selected to Fifth Paralympics for Team USA

Team USA announced the Paralympic swimming team for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics on Monday, a group of 24 women and 10 men that includes five-time Paralympians Jessica Long and Rudy Garcia-Tolson.

The selection follows the three-day Paralympic Team Trials at the University of Minnesota’s jean J. Freeman Aquatic Center.

Long competed for the first time at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens at the age of 12. Long has won 23 Paralympic medals, including 13 golds, the second-most decorated American Paralympian in history.


Jessica Long; Photo Courtesy: Kevin McCarthy

“I don’t know if pleased (with the results) is the correct word, just because I knew coming into this that I wasn’t going to be rested or tapered,” Long said after completing a six-swim program at Trials. “We kind of did a drop taper, a very small rest, so of course I would have liked to swim faster but last week I had a full week of training. I think more than anything I’m a veteran so I know when to perform under pressure in a very, very big Paralympic environment and that’s what I’m really looking forward to. This job was to make the team and swim fast, and I feel like I did that. I did what I needed to. But in Tokyo is where I shine under pressure.”

Malory Weggman, McKenzie Coan, Becca Meyers and Colleen Young are all on Team USA for a third Games. Weggemann, a native of Eagan, Minnesota, got to enjoy Trials near her home. She’s the reigning world champion in the S7 50 free and 50 fly.

Coan won the 100 and 400 free in Rio and at the last World Championships. She’s chasing the S7 world record in both.

“I think my teammates and my coach are so sick of hearing me talk about it because I, literally, that’s all I think about anymore,” Coan said. “It’s all I talk about, it’s all I think about. It’s something I dreamed about for such a long time. But it was nice to go best time. I feel like I keep chipping away at it.”

Meyers, like Long a native of Baltimore, won three golds in Rio. Young has a bronze medal from Rio.

Ellie Marks will look to defend her gold medal from Rio in her second Games. She’s joined by Hannah Aspden, Sophia Herzog, Lizzi Smith, Martha Ruether, McClain Hermes, Cailin Currie and Natalie Sims as two-time Olympics on the women’s side. Eleven women and seven men will be making their Paralympic debuts.

That leaves only three vets on the men’s side, but they are decorated ones. Garcia-Tolson has five medals in his four previous games, competing in track and field in 2012. Evan Austin, the defending world champion in the 50 butterfly, is in his third Paralympics. Robert Griswold is looking to build on his bronze in the 100 back from his debut in Rio.

Team USA Paralympic Team


  • Hannah Aspden, Raleigh, N.C.
  • McKenzie Coan, Clarkesville, Ga.
  • Cailin Currie, Danvers, Mass.
  • Julia Gaffney, Mayflower, Ark.
  • McClain Hermes, Dacula, Ga.
  • Sophia Herzog, Fairplay, Colo.
  • Mikaela Jenkins, Evansville, Ind.
  • Keegan Knott, Lake Villa, Ill.
  • Ahalya Lettenberger, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
  • Jessica Long, Baltimore, Md.
  • Ellie Marks, Prescott Valley, Ariz.
  • Becca Meyers, Baltimore, Md.
  • Makayla Nietzel, Crystal Lake, Ill.
  • Anastasia Pagonis, Long Island, N.Y.
  • Gia Pergolini, Roswell, Ga.
  • Martha Ruether, Allegany, N.Y.
  • Summer Schmit, Grant, Minn.
  • Haven Shepherd, Carthage, Mo.
  • Natalie Sims, Edina, Minn.
  • Leanne Smith, Salem, Mass
  • Lizzi Smith, Austin, Texas
  • Morgan Stickney, Bedford, N.H.
  • Mallory Weggemann, Eagan, Minn.
  • Collen Young, St. Louis, Mo.


  • David Abrahams, Havertown, Pa.
  • Evan Austin, Terre Haute, Ind.
  • Parker Egbert, Greenwood, S.C.
  • Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Bloomington, Calif.
  • Robert Griswold, Freehold, N.J.
  • Jamal Hill, Inglewood, Calif.
  • Joey Peppersack, Hopewell, Va.
  • Lawrence Sapp, Waldorf, Md.
  • Zachary Shattuck, Mt. Airy, Md.
  • Matthew Torres, Ansonia, Conn.
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1 year ago

Congratulations to an amazing group of swimmers!