BEIJING, China – On day four of competition, 22 year-old Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) and 18 year-old Roy Perkins (Del Mar, Calif.) both set world records, taking gold in their respective events. Lamback dropped more than five seconds from his qualifying time (1:17.26), setting a world record (1:12.09) in the men’s 100m backstroke (S7). The defending world champion, Perkins finished first in the men’s 50m butterfly (S5) with a time of 35.95.
“The race really starts after the turn. You can go out as hard as you want, but if you can’t hold it up, you won’t win,” said Lamback. “I had a good turn and brought it home from there. The gold feels awesome.”
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long and it feels amazing,” said Perkins. “Junquan [CHN] got a great dive. I expected him to be ahead at halfway, but I turned it on to catch him. It’s very fulfilling. I’ve trained hard for so many years.”
In the women’s 100m backstroke (S8), Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) swam a personal best of 1:19.56 for the silver medal, her fourth of the Beijing Paralympic Games. Long has already earned two golds – in the women’s 200m butterfly (S8) and 100m freestyle (S8) – and a bronze in the women’s 100m breaststroke (SB7.)
Referring to Tuesday's 100m beaststroke (SB7) finals, Long said: “Yesterday was a bad swim for me. I was disappointed, but I came back strong tonight. I was ranked third coming in, so I’m happy to move up and get the silver.”
Kelley Becherer (Sheboygan, Wis.) also took the medal stand tonight, earning bronze with a time of 1:00.46 in the women’s 100m freestyle (S13.) This is Becherer's second bronze medal of the Games; her first was in the 400m freestyle (S13.)
Always a crowd pleaser, the men’s 4x100m Freestyle relay (34 point) included six teams finishing under four minutes. The American team – made up of Michael Prout (West Springfield, Mass.), Mark Barr (Davis, Calif.), Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) and Cody Bureau (Colorado Springs, Colo./Latrobe, Pa.) – finished in 3:59.97, putting them in sixth place.
“The guys set a new American record in the relay by nine seconds in the most competitive field ever,” said O’Neill. “The tough part for us was that Lantz [Lamback] was coming out of the backstroke. All of them swam really well and the overall result was great.”
U.S. Results Women’s
100m Freestyle (S13) – Kelley Becherer (Sheboygan, Wis.) – 1:00.46 (3)
Men’s 100m Backstroke (S7) – Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nev.) – 1:26.57 (4)
Men’s 100m Backstroke (S7) – Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) – 1:12.09 (1, WR*)
Women’s 100m Backstroke (S8) – Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) – 1:19.56 (2) 18:32
Men’s 200m IM (SM12) – Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, N.C.) – 2:19:12 (6) 19:02
Men’s 50m Butterfly (S5) – Roy Perkins (Del Mar, Calif.) – 35.95 (1, WR) 19:07
Men’s 4x100m Freestyle relay (34 point) – Michael Prout (West Springfield, Mass.), Mark Barr (Davis, Calif.), Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.), Cody Bureau (Colorado Springs, Colo./Latrobe, Pa.) – 3:59.97
*WR (world record)
After four days of competition, the U.S. leads the medal standings with 11 gold, five silver and eight bronze. In the overall medal count for swimming competition, they trail China by only three medals.
“It feels great that the team is doing so well. We have so many great athletes and I’m going to keep doing my part. I’m just doing what I love.”
Becherer “It didn’t feel as smooth as this morning but I did everything I could and swam hard. My goal was to medal here and I’ve already done that, so I’m happy.”
“My brother told me if you’re not the big dog in the yard, you’ve got to fight for the yard. This morning I took the yard. The only problem with being the big dog is that then you have to hold the yard.”
“In the men’s field, everybody’s stepped up to the plate because it’s the Games. It was great to see Roy [Perkins] improve his time and get the world record.”
“We expected Lantz to be fast, but it was a surprise to see him drop three seconds this morning, and then swim even faster tonight was even better. We’re definitely looking forward to his 400m freestyle [S7] tomorrow.”
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.