Pan American Games, Day 4: Gabi Albiero, Maggie MacNeil Tie for 50 Free Gold

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Pan American Games, Day 4: Gabi Albiero, Maggie MacNeil Tie for 50 Free Gold

Maggie MacNeil’s conquering run through the Pan Am Games continued Tuesday. It just had a little bit of company on the top step.

MacNeil and American Gabi Albiero tied for gold in the women’s 50 freestyle Tuesday night at Central Aquatico in Santiago, Chile. It was part of another big night for the Canadian women at the meet, which enters its penultimate day.

The full recap:

Women’s 50 Freestyle

Make it 4-for-4 for Maggie MacNeil, who clocked in at 24.84 seconds to get her fourth gold of the meet. But Gabi Albiero was right there with her.

MacNeil’s gold augments her wins in the 100 butterfly, 100 free and 400 free relay. It’s .05 off a best time.

Albiero was right with her the entire way. So was the American bronze medalist, Catie De Loof, who picked up the hardware with a time of 24.88. The American veteran had the fastest time of the day with a 24.79 from prelims.

Brazilians finished just off the podium, with Cristina Versiani in 25.17 and Stephanie Balduccini in 25.25.

Men’s 50 Freestyle

Chalk up an American 1-2 thanks to David Curtiss and Jonny Kulow. Curtiss went 21.85 to pick up gold, edging Kulow by .05. Kulow had been quickest in prelims with an identical 21.90 time.

Third place went to Lamar Taylor of the Bahamas, who bested the bigger nations for bronze with a time of 22.13 seconds. It’s the first ever Bahamian male swimming medal at Pan Ams and just the fourth for the nation (the other three involved Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace in 2011 and 2015).

Venezuela’s Alberto Mestre was third in 22.16. Gui Caribe and Gabriel Castano tied for fifth.

Women’s 400 Individual Medley

Canada’s Julie Brousseau controlled the back half of the race to hold off a charge from the U.S.’s Lucy Bell and add another gold medal for the Canadians. Brousseau went 4:43.76, edging Bell by a half-second. Bronze medalist Gabrielle Roncatto was more than three seconds behind the leading duo.

Brousseau lead from the 150-meter wall on. She led Bell by 1.28 seconds when they turned at the 300-meter mark. Bell rallied in that seventh 50 to carve all but .14 seconds out of the deficit. But Brousseau gritted her teeth coming home to get to the wall first.

Roncatto was eight tenths up on Kristen Romano of Puerto Rico for bronze. That all came on the final 50, Roncatto splitting 31.24 coming home, exactly two seconds better than Romano, who missed out on a medal in 4:48.73.

Men’s 400 Individual Medley

Jay Litherland has Pan Ams gold to add to his Olympic silver. He went 4:15.44 to pull away from Canadian Collyn Gagne by 1.5 seconds to get the win. Gagne was second in 4:17.05, with Brandonn Almeida grabbing bronze by .04 seconds ahead of Ian Grum in 4:18.74.

Litherland led most of the way, with a slight blip as he ran out of steam in the backstroke leg. That gave Gagne the edge by .11 seconds. But Litherland blasted the first 50 of breaststroke and accruing a lead of 1.95 seconds by the 300-meter mark.

Almeida was third with Guatemala’s Erick Gordillo fourth and Grum fifth when they turned for home at 300 meters. Grum went hard on the seventh 50, splitting 29.23 to bump into third. But it came at a cost, as Almeida recovered .29 seconds from him in the final 50 to nip into the bronze spot. Gordillo was fifth in 4:19.31.

Women’s 800 Freestyle Relay

The American women have a relay gold medal. Paige Madden made sure of it.

Madden split 1:58.50 to rally the U.S. to gold in an engaging three-way race, earning her fourth medal and third gold of the week. Brazil took home silver followed by Canada, the leading troika 14 seconds clear of the rest.

Madden teams with Camille Spink, Kayla Wilson and Kelly Pash to go 7:55.26. Pash was the only holdover from prelims. The U.S. was third at the midway point, thanks to a Canadian surge. Madden dove in with the U.S. trailing Brazil by .32 seconds. Madden clawed that back in the first 50 meters, outsplitting Gabrielle Roncatto by .84. She held that edged on the way to a .59-second victory, though Roncatto did stabilize the damage.

Brazil led from the start thanks to Maria da Silva Costa’s 1:58.39, the fastest split of the race and from a flat start no less. Nathalia Siqueira and Stephanie Balduccini handled the middle legs, a 1:58.40 from the latter putting Brazil back up.

Canada led thanks to its two front-half gold medalists. While 200 free champ Mary-Sophie Harvey (1:59.40) was third at her handoff, 400 IM champ Julie Brousseau went 1:58.54 to take the lead. Brooklyn Douthwright and Katerine Savard did plenty on the back end to secure a medal with 1:59s, but they couldn’t mount a charge for gold.

Men’s 800 Freestyle Relay

The U.S. improved dramatically from a dour prelims performance. But it wasn’t enough to budge the Brazilians, who led wire to wire in setting a Pan Am Games record.

The foursome of Murilo Sartori, Breno Correia, Fernando Scheffer and Guilherme Costa went 7:07.53. It destroys the meet record that Brazil had set in 2019 at 7:10.66.

The Americans were well under the mark, too, with Zane Grothe, Coby Carrozza, Brooks Curry and Jack Dahlgren going 7:08.06. None of them were from the prelims squad that went a dismal 7:32.57.

Brazil led by .49 seconds at the midway point, but Scheffer’s 1:45.90 opened a gap on Curry’s 1:46.78. Dahlgren outsplit Costa by nearly a second, but it wasn’t enough to claw back a 1.37-second deficit.

Canada’s Javier Acevedo split 1:48.25 to secure bronze for his country. The Canadians were running fourth the whole way but just .19 down on Mexico at the final handoff. Acevedo outsplit Dylan Porges by nearly three seconds to make the final margin look lopsided.

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