Paralympic Games (Day 6 Women): Mallory Weggemann, Hannah Aspden Claim Gold; China Breaks Two World Records

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Hannah Aspden. Photo Courtesy: Kevin McCarthy

Mallory Weggemann continued her stellar performance at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo — and she wasn’t alone.

Weggemann earned her second gold medal of the games, while Hannah Aspden also claimed gold in a strong day for the U.S. as seven medals were won by Team USA.

Meanwhile, in the women’s 50 backstroke S5, China’s Lu Dong break the world record to win gold in 37.18. Spain’s Teresa Perales won silver (43.02) and Turkey’s Sevilay Osturk won the bronze (43.48). In the women’s 200 IM SM11, China’s Ma Jia won gold in world record fashion, winning in 2:42.14, ahead of teammate Cai Liwen (2:42.91).

Team USA started the night off by capturing two of the three podium steps in the women’s 100-meter backstroke S7. Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota) won in a time time of 1:21.27 set a Paralympic record and gave her a second gold medal from these Games — her third career Paralympic gold and fourth overall.

“Winning the gold medal is a remarkable feat, but I swim for something so much more than medals,” Weggemann said. “I love to swim, and I love to continue and challenge myself to see how far I can push the needle. To go in and get a best time and for that to take home a gold medal is brilliant. It’s the best way you can imagine doing it.”

The three-time Paralympian was joined on the podium by teammate Julia Gaffney (Mayflower, Arkansas), who earned her second medal in as many days by going 1:22.02 for bronze. Canadian Danielle Dorris took the silver in 1:21.91.

“I’m really excited. It’s pretty cool that both times I got a medal (in Tokyo), I was able to hear the national anthem. Huge congrats to Mallory Weggemann getting the gold,” Gaffney said.

Finishing fourth in the same event was another American, McKenzie Coan (Clarksville, Georgia). The five-time Paralympic medalist went 1:23.10 and will return to the pool tomorrow for the women’s 100-meter freestyle S7.

Two races later, two-time Paralympian Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, N.C.) entered the night with the top seed in the women’s 100-meter backstroke S9 and left the pool in the same spot. Her Americas record time of 1:09.22 secured her first career Paralympic gold and her third overall. Teammate Lizzi Smith (Muncie, Indiana) landed a top-five spot with a fifth-place finish clocking in at 1:14.24. Aspden finished ahead of Spain’s Nuria Marques Soto (1:1026) and New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe (1:11.15).

“I’m really, really happy, excited. It didn’t feel real, and it still kind of doesn’t. It was such a fun race,” Aspden said. “I don’t know what I was expecting but I just wanted to go in and give it everything I had and that’s what I did. It’s been a long, long journey for a lot of people coming here and so just being here, being able to race, is an amazing feeling.”

Already with a silver medal from Tokyo in her collection, Elizabeth Marks (Colorado Springs, Colorado) added one more with a bronze in the women’s 50-meter butterfly S6. The two-time Paralympian’s time of 36.83 is an Americas record and her fourth career medal at the Paralympic Games. Jiang Wuyan won the women’s 50 butterfly s^ in 34.60 ahead of Ireland’s Nicole Turner (36.30) and Marks.

The women’s 200-meter individual medley SM11 saw Anastasia Pagonis (Long Island, N.Y.) reel in her second Paralympic medal at her first Games. Pagonis finished in 2:45.61 for the bronze medal.

“This one I had to put up a real fight for. I felt her [Jia Ma] right next to me, and I had to push myself and get to the wall as fast as I could. My breaststroke is not my strong point, so I really had to come back and be really powerful on my free,” Pagonis said.

In her Paralympic debut, Leanne Smith (Salem, Massachusetts) picked up her first Paralympic medal after winning silver in the women’s 100-meter freestyle S3. The 2019 world champion in the event touched the wall in 1:37.68.

“It’s overwhelming and just surreal. I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet, but I am really excited to get to that podium and receive that silver medal,” Smith said.

In the 100 freestyle S3, Italy’s Arjola Trimi won gold (1:30.22) ahead of Smith and Russian Paralympic Committee’s Iuliia Shishova (1:49.63).

Team USA’s seventh medal of the night came from three-time Paralympian Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) in the women’s 200-meter individual medley S13. Young, who finished fifth in the event at the 2019 world championships, secured her spot on the podium by finishing in 2:26.80 for the silver.

“I feel so ecstatic. I really worked on the individual medley over the past year, and I am really happy it paid off. I have to give a shout-out to David Galvin. He is not here, but I would not be a silver medalist without that kid. He pushed me in every single individual medley set, and I’m extremely grateful to have him as a training partner,” Young said.

Young finished behind Italy’s Carlota Gilli (2:21.44), who won gold. Uzbekstan’s Shokhsanamkhon Toshpulatova took the bronze (2:27.92).

Complete results