2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: First Time Paralympian Cortney Jordan Finishes Meet with Gold Medal

Sept. 14, 2008, 2:52 p.m. (ET)

BEIJING, China - On day eight of swimming competition at the National Aquatics Center, first time Paralympians stepped it up to deliver top performances for the U.S. Swimming Team.

In the women's 50m freestyle (S7), 17-year old Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nev.) set a Paralympic record (33.84) to win her first Paralympic gold medal. "I saw myself on the screen and couldn't believe it. It was unbelievable," said Jordan.

Entering finals as the fourth seed, Jordan surprised herself with a race that earned her the top spot on the podium next to teammate Erin Popovich (Fort Collins, Colo./Silverbow, Mont.), who took silver with a time of 34.22.

"I couldn't be more excited for Cortney," said Popovich, a three-time Paralympian and co-captain of the U.S. Women's Swimming Team. "She is a true competitor through and through and she's proven she's the best in the world. "I put my best effort forth. Cortney had a phenomenal swim and she deserves the gold."

This is Jordan's fourth medal of the Beijing Paralympic Games. In both the women's 400m freestyle (S7) and 100m freestyle (S7), she took second to Popovich; in the women's 200IM (SM7), she earned bronze.

18-year old Amanda Everlove (Colorado Springs, Colo.), another first-time Paralympic competitor, also had a lifetime best race tonight, finishing the women's 50m freestyle (S8) with a time of 32.20 for the silver medal. "I'm really glad I ended the meet this way. This is amazing," said Everlove, who finished competition at her first Paralympic Games with three silver medals.

22-year old Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) added a bronze medal to the gold and two silvers he's already won during the Games with a 28.81 finish in the men's 50m freestyle (S7.) With the highest number of medals for the U.S. men, Lamback is happy with his personal best times throughout the meet, but plans to come back fighting for more. "I still have to catch them," he said, referring to the highly competitive field of swimmers.

U.S. Results (Finals):
Men's 50m Freestyle (S12) - Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, N.C.) - 25.31 (6)
Women's 150m IM (SM4) - Aimee Bruder (Birmingham, Ala.) - 3:29.80 (4)
Women's 400m Freestyle (S6) - Miranda Uhl (Alachua, Fla.) - 5:55.64 (4)
Women's 100m Backstroke (S13) - Kelley Becherer (Sheboygan, Wis.) - 1:11.53 (4)
Men's 50m Freestyle (S7) - Lantz Lamback (Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) - 28.81 (3)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S7) - Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nev.) - 33.84 (1, PR)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S7) - Erin Popovich (Fort Collins, Colo./Silverbow, Mont.) - 34.22 (1, PR)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S8) - Amanda Everlove (Colorado Springs, Colo.) - 32.20 (2)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S8) - Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) - 32.58 (6)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S9) - April Kerley (Loveland, Ohio) - 30.20 (5)
Men's 50m Freestyle (S10) - Justin Zook (Plymouth, Minn.) - 24.81 (4)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S10) - Anna Eames (Golden Valley, Minn.) -29.17 (4)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S10) - Susan Beth Scott (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cape Girardeau, Mo.) - 29.38 (5)

After eight days of competition, the U.S. Swimming Team maintains its top rank in the medal standings with 16 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals.

"To come here and win any medal is a huge honor. Cortney [Jordan] has done a phenomenal job these games. Her accomplishments are amazing and she's a true inspiration. Team USA has a lot of great swims still to come in Beijing and a very strong future ahead of us."

"I don't think I'd be as fast without Erin [Popovich.] We push each other. I just feel more confident in the ready room when she's there. We still have a lot of great swims to go, a lot of medals to win. I felt really prepared. The other races [in Beijing] have given me a lot of experience and I was ready to go out and get another medal."

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.