Paralympic Games (Day 3 Women): Mallory Weggemann Leads USA in 200 IM; Jessica Long Claims 24th Medal

Mallory Weggemann

Paralympic Games (Day 3 Women): Mallory Weggemann Leads USA 1-2 in 200 Medley; Jessica Long Claims 24th Career Medal

It was a big night for United States women at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, with Mallory Weggemann and Ahalya Lettenberger leading the way for the Stars and Stripes. In the SM7 200-meter individual medley, Weggemann and Lettenberger put together a gold-silver finish, Weggemann’s title following an earlier win by American Robert Griswold on the men’s side.

Coming off a Paralympic record in the preliminaries, Weggemann registered a time of 2:55.48 to comfortably prevail, with Lettenberger picking up the silver medal in 3:02.82. Australian Tiffany Thomas Kane was the bronze medalist in 3:03.11. It was Weggemann’s third Paralympic medal, and first since the 2012 Games in London.

“I’m overjoyed. It is such an honor to be at my third Paralympic Games and to be on top of the podium for the first time in what would be nine years on September 2,” Weggemann said. “This has been a very long fight and there has been a lot of circumstances that have come around through this journey. I’m just filled with pride that I get to be with Team USA and I get to represent my family, my community and that I have that love and support to surround me.”

In the S8 100 backstroke, the United States’ Jessica Long collected the 24th Paralympic medal of her illustrious career. Long posted a time of 1:18.55 to win the bronze medal, as New Zealand’s Tupou Neiufi sped to the win in 1:16.84, followed by the Ukraine’s Kateryna Denysenko (1:18.31).

“I feel really good. It’s number 24 and that was the goal,” Long said. “It’s been a long journey and gaining a lot of perspective but it’s exciting every single time I get to stand on that podium. Backstroke isn’t one of my top events, and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s 200-meter IM. For now, I wanted to get on that podium tonight. I’m proud of myself.”

Great Britain’s Hannah Russell topped the field in the S12 100 backstroke in 1:08.44 and Russia’s Valeriia Shabalina clocked 2:03.71 to claim gold in the S14 200 freestyle, with the British pair of Bethany Firth and Jessica-Jane Applegate earning silver and bronze. Lu Dong of China was the S5 50 butterfly titlist, going 39.54 for the only sub-40 performance. Anna Stetsenko of the Ukraine closed out the third-day finals session with a gold in the S13 400 freestyle, behind a swim of 4:23.92.

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