2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Swimmers Win Three Gold Medals, Set Paralympic and American Records
BEIJING, China - The U.S. team continued its momentum at the National Aquatics Center tonight with three gold medals, two silver and one bronze. Americans dominated the women's 100m freestyle (S7), with Erin Popovich (Fort Collins, Colo./Silverbow, Mont.) taking gold and teammate Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nev.) joining her on the podium with silver. Popovich set a Paralympic record of 1:11.82, breaking the Paralympic record she set during the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.
"I've wanted to go one-two [on the medal stand] with Erin [Popovich] for so long and it's great to finally do it," said Jordan. "This is my first silver medal. It means so much to me."
After breaking the world record in the women's 100m freestyle (S8) this morning, Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) took gold with a time of 1:06.91. Anna Eames (Golden Valley, Minn.) made her Paralympic debut tonight, winning the gold with 1:09.44 in the women's 100m butterfly (S10).
Both veterans of the Paralympic Games, Popovich and Long have won two gold medals each so far in Beijing.
"We were right where we needed to be coming out of prelims," said Julie O'Neil, head coach, U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team. "Almost across the board, the team had lifetime best swims."
Adding to the U.S. medal count in swimming - which has reached a total of 15, including seven gold medals - were Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) and Kelley Becherer (Sheboygan, Wis.) Lamback took silver in the men's 100m freestyle (S7) with a time of 1:02.40, and Becherer earned bronze in the women's 400m freestyle (S13), tying Chelsey Gotell (CAN) with a time of 4:37.50.
"This is just as sweet as the first gold [medal]. It's huge for me to go under 1:12. That's fast. It's been four long years of work - ever since Athens."
"This is a great honor. I'm really excited. I got a medal and did what I wanted to in my best event. There's a lot of pressure here so I'm happy to get first. Going into my other races, I'll have more confidence."
"I was expecting to drop more time but I didn't get out as fast as I wanted. I'm happy with my world record this morning and I'm really proud of this gold. All those 100 free[style] practices paid off - that's what they're for."
"I felt pretty good. I really wanted it. Getting a medal was my biggest goal here in Beijing."
"That was better than Athens. I dropped a second. I did my thing, didn't change anything - just got out there and swam. It's a good start to the rest of the week."
Women's 100m Freestyle (S8) - Amanda Everlove (Colorado Springs, Colo.) - 1:10.65 (4)
Women's 100m Freestyle (S9) - Elizabeth Stone (Grand Rapids, Mich.) - 1:04.86 (6)
Women's 100m Butterfly (S10) - Susan Beth Scott (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cape Girardeau, Mo.) - 1:15.72 (6)
Men's 100m Freestyle (S9) - Cody Bureau (Colorado Springs, Colo./Latrobe, Pa.) - 58.14 (7)
Women's 100m Freestyle (S6) - Miranda Uhl (Alachua, Fla.) - 1:22.22 (7)
Women's 100m Freestyle (S6) - Casey Johnson (Cypress, Calif.) - 1:26.42 (8)
Several American records were set by the U.S. team tonight, including: Popovich/ women's 100m freestyle (S7), Becherer/ women's 400m freestyle (S13), Lamback/ men's 100m freestyle (S7), Bureau/ men's 100m freestyle (S9), and Stone/ women's 100m freestyle (S9.)
For complete swimming results, visit http://results.beijing2008.cn/WRMP/ENG/Schedule/SW.shtml.
For more information, please contact Tara Dugan Kusumoto at 139 1063 1844. If calling from the U.S., dial 011 86 plus the local number.