2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: Popovich Wins 400m Freestyle (S7), Bringing Lifetime Gold Medal Count to 14
BEIJING, China - On day five of competition, the U.S. women once again dominated the podium with multiple medalists in single events. The duo of Erin Popovich (Fort Collins, Colo./ Silverbow, Mont.)/ Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nev.) took the podium for gold/silver in the women's 400m freestyle (S7), followed by teammates Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.)/Amanda Everlove (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who won gold/silver in the women's 200m IM (SM8).
Popovich finished first in the 400m freestyle (S7) with a Paralympic record time of 5:17.41. Tonight's medal represents her fourth of the Beijing Paralympic Games and her 14th career gold medal. (She won seven, including relays, in Athens, 2004, and three in Sydney, 2000.) Teammate Jordan finished in 5:21.01 for silver, her third medal of the meet.
"Erin is such a great role model and athlete," said Jordan. "It's a dream come true to go one-two with her again," she said, referring to the women's 100m freestyle (S7) earlier in the week.
"I'm very excited to break 5:20. That is a huge success for me," said Popovich. "I pushed through the whole race, kept my momentum and stayed strong in the last 100."
Long also added to her growing medal count Thursday, earning her third gold of the Games with a world record time (2:41.85) in the women's 200m IM (SM8.) Teammate Everlove, who dropped about twelve seconds from her personal best, took silver with a time of 2:50.51.
"We talked about going one-two before the race," said Everlove. "I really wanted to see us both on the podium and I am so happy with the results. Jessica is an amazing swimmer. I love being on the team with her and love racing her."
On the men's side, Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) - coming off his world-record, gold medal swim (1:12.09) in the men's 100m backstroke (S7) on Wednesday -took silver tonight in the men's 400m freestyle (S7). Winning his first medal of the meet, Cody Bureau (Colorado Springs, Colo./Latrobe, Pa.) raced the 200m IM (SM9) with a time of 2:20.21 for a bronze medal.
"It's been a meet where I've had awesome swims all around and almost all were best times," said Bureau. "I really wanted something to show for it...and I got that tonight."
Men's 400m Freestyle (S7) - Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) - 4:56.46 (2)
Men's 400m Freestyle (S7) - Alex Dionne (Mequon, Wis.) - 5:02.62 (4)
Women's 400m Freestyle (S7) - Erin Popovich (Fort Collins, Colo./ Silverbow, Mont.) - 5:17.41 (1, PR*)
Women's 400m Freestyle (S7) - Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nev.) - 5:21.01 (2)
Men's 200m IM (SM5) - Roy Perkins (Del Mar, Calif.) - 3:23.63 (5)
Women's 200m IM (SM8) - Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) - 2:41.85 (1, WR*)
Women's 200m IM (SM8) - Amanda Everlove (Colorado Springs, Colo.) - 2:50.51 (2)
Men's 200m IM (SM9) - Cody Bureau (Colorado Springs, Colo./Latrobe, Pa.) - 2:20.21 (3)
Men's 200m IM (SM9) - Michael Prout (West Springfield, Mass.) - 2:25.56 (6)
Men's 400m Freestyle (S11) - Philip Scholz (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) - 4:57.21 (5)
Men's 400m Freestyle (S12) - Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, N.C.) - 4:23.98 (4)
Women's 200m IM (SM10) - Anna Eames (Golden Valley, Minn.) - 2:42.46 (5)
Women's 200m IM (SM10) - Susan Beth Scott (Colorado Springs, Colo.\Cape Girardeau, Mo.) - 2:43.99 (6)
Men's 4x50m Freestyle relay (20 point) - Team USA: Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.), Dave Denniston (Longmont, Colo.), Michael DeMarco (San Diego, Calif.), Roy Perkins (Del Mar, Calif.) - DSQ
* (PR) Paralympic Record, (WR) World Record
After four days of competition, the U.S. leads the medal standings with 13 gold, eight silver and nine bronze. In the overall medal count for swimming competition, they trail China by only two medals.
"It was an amazing swim. I just put everything into it and it felt great."
"I went in with more confidence so am definitely feeling a little bit stronger. My two best events are out of the way so I'm hoping to get personal bests and make it to the finals in my remaining three events."
"These guys are really fast. I knew I had to swim fast, so I did my best and got a lifetime best time. It was a good swim. This has been a great experience."
"It's a blessing to be able to be here. I love the sport and that's a huge inspiration for me. All my coaches and teammates are inspirations to me too."
"Tonight I felt really smooth. Cortney really pushed me. I'm just going to keep taking it one race at a time."
When asked about her "secret weapon" Popovich replied: "A lot of hard work and doing the right preparation."
"I felt really relaxed. I just went out there and did my thing. Amanda [Everlove] has a great butterfly and we really like racing each other."
"After the 300 point, I just kept pushing, kept going. I'm really happy that the national anthem was played for the U.S. and I'm really proud of Erin [Popovich]."
"Jessica is an amazing swimmer. I love being on the team with her and love racing her."
"It was competitive. My coach said to go out there and get after it, and so that's what I did. It was me and Dave Roberts [GBR] the whole way. He just had a little more left than me at the end. I had an incredible race and am happy to be three for three."
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.