Thirty National Champions Crowned on Opening Day of Para Swimming Nationals

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Photo Courtesy: Dan D'Addona

TUCSON, Ariz. – Thirty athletes were crowned national champions on opening day of the 2018 U.S. Paralympics Swimming Para National Championships presented by Toyota. Eleven records were set, including one world, two Pan American and eight national, by seven swimmers at Oro Valley Aquatic Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Starting nationals in record-setting form, Paralympic bronze medalist Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) won the SB13 200-meter breaststroke, setting a new world record with a time of 2:50.75.

Two athletes defended their national crowns from 2017. Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Maryland) set an American record in the 200 freestyle (2:05.29) and defended his 100 butterfly (1:00.86) title, beating his previous national title time by two seconds. Leanne Smith (Beverly, Massachusetts) began the weekend by winning the S3 200 free (3:41.34). In the preliminary round, Smith set a new American and Pan American record, only to set a new record once again, beating her earlier time by two seconds.

Kicking off nationals with two top-three finishes to her name, four-time Paralympic medalist McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia) won the S7 400 free, shaving off nearly eight seconds from her preliminary time. Coan continued to dominate throughout opening day, placing second in the S7 50 fly.

Competition continues Saturday at 9 a.m. MT and concludes Sunday.


Leanne Smith

“I was very happy with my performance. I haven’t swam the 200 free since last summer so it was a good time for me to reevaluate where I am timewise. Dropping time is always good. It was nice to come back into finals this evening and drop a little bit more time.”

McKenzie Coan

“I was really, really happy with my swim today. I was really consistent. With my freestyle, I’ve been really working on my stroke and trying to fine tune things, like my turns and breathing. I could not have been happier when I hit the wall and saw my time. I’m excited, because I feel like there’s a lot I can take home from those swims and really work on for world championships next year.”

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  1. avatar

    Congrats!!!! so proud of you!!!!!

  2. avatar

    Great job Mckenzie!!!! congratulations!!!

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