Paralympic Games (Day 5 Women): McKenzie Coan Repeats in 400 Freestyle

McKenzie Coan

Paralympic Games (Day 5 Women): McKenzie Coan Repeats as Gold Medalist in 400 Freestyle

Already a highly accomplished Paralympian, the United States’ McKenzie Coan added to her legacy on Sunday when she collected another gold medal at the Paralympic Games. Racing at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Coan repeated as the champion of the S7 400-meter freestyle. Coan was the gold medalist in the event at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Coan, who has been based at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, covered her eight laps in 5:05.84 to edge silver medalist Giulia Terzi of Italy, who was timed in 5:06.32. Julia Gaffney went 5:11.89 for the bronze medal and gave the U.S. two athletes on the podium. Another American, Ahalya Lettenberger, was fourth.

“To be able to come back here and defend it, it’s been a really long five years,” said Coan, who now has five Paralympic medals. “There’s been a lot of hard things these five years. To be able to come here, especially after the last year, what the world has gone through, it’s just nice to come here and do something that makes you smile and makes you happy, so I think it means even more.”

During the pandemic, Coan actually trained in a pool in her parents’ garage, a display of doing the best one can given the circumstances of the world.

There were fireworks in the S11 50 freestyle, as the top three finishers all finished under the previous world record. China’s Ma Jia claimed victory in 29.20, which obliterated the former world record of 29.92. Ma’s countrywoman, Li Guizhi, picked up the silver medal in 29.72 while Cyrpus’ Karolina Pelendritou was the bronze medalist in 29.79.

Spain’s Michelle Alonso Morales established a world record en route to the gold medal in the S14 100 breaststroke, as she delivered a mark of 1:12.02 to slice a half-second off her previous global standard of 1:12.61. Great Britain’s Louise Fiddes followed as the silver medalist in 1:15.93.

In other action, Italian Arjola Trimi captured gold in the S3 50 backstroke and Brazil’s Maria Carolina Gomes Santiago was champion in the S13 50 freestyle, thanks to a time of 26.82. Hungary’s Fanni Illes was tops in the SB4 100 breaststroke and Italy prevailed in the 400 freestyle relay.

Complete Results