Paralympic Games (Day 3 Men): Robert Griswold Destroys World Record in S8 100 Backstroke; Two Other WRs Fall

Robert Griswold

Paralympic Games (Day 3 Men): Robert Griswold Destroys World Record in S8 100 Backstroke; Two Other WRs Fall

Robert Griswold knew the feeling of standing on the Paralympic Games podium from his bronze-medal showing at the 2016 competition in Rio de Janeiro. Five years later, the American moved to the top step and heard the playing of the Star Spangled Banner at the Tokyo Games.

Racing in the S8 classification of the 100-meter backstroke, Griswold claimed the gold medal in dominant fashion, as he set a world record of 1:02.55. Griswold sliced nearly a half-second off the former world mark, which was held by China’s Cong Zhou at 1:02.90. Cong set that world record en route to Rio gold.

Griswold blasted the field as silver medalist Inigo Llopis Sanz was more than four seconds back in 1:06.82, with China’s Liu Fengqi going 1:07.09 for the bronze medal.

“I worked for five years for this moment,” Griswold said. “I remember this record took a big jump down in Rio, and I was in that race, and I woke up the next day and said, ‘How can I get down to 1:02.90?’ I thought about it again and again, and said if I just kept a little bit better every day, it will click. Then one day it all clicked. I honestly wasn’t thinking 1:02.50. I hit the wall and saw that I was out at 30-something, and I said, ‘You know what, let’s just go for it’ and I went with. When I touched the wall I just screamed with joy because I was so happy to do the best I could for my country.”

Great Britain’s Reece Dunn joined Griswold as a world-record breaker when he won the S14 200 freestyle in 1:52.40. That swim sliced .56 off Dunn’s previous global standard, which he set in 2019. Dunn needed every bit of the new record as Brazil’s Gabriel Bandeira was also under the former mark, going 1:52.74.

“I had a strong swim this morning, it was a comfortable cruise to see where I was at and into the middle lane,” Dunn said. “It’s amazing. This is the one I trained for and put all my effort into in training. It’s a world record as well, so it feels good.”

Israel’s Mark Malyar also joined in the world-record breaking. Like Dunn, Malyar needed a world record to win gold as he was pushed to the wall in the SM7 200 individual medley by the Ukraine’s Andrii Trusov. Malyar checked in with a new mark of 2:29.01, with Trusov touching the wall in 2:29.99.

A tight battle emerged in the final of the S12 100 backstroke, where Azerbaijan’s Raman Salei prevailed for gold in 1:00.30, followed by the 1:00.71 of Sergii Klippert of the Ukraine. Brazil’s Wendell Belarmino Pereira finished first in the S11 50 freestyle in 26.03 and Zheng Tao was the gold medalist in the S5 50 butterfly in 30.62. Ihar Boki of Belarus won the S13 400 freestyle in 3:58.18.

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