BEIJING, China - On the final day of swimming competition at the Water Cube, the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team won four additional medals, bringing the total count to 44, including 17 gold medals, and finishing - for the first time - at the top of the medal standings.
After two bronze medals earlier in the week, Kelley Becherer (Sheboygan, Wis.) moved her way up to the top of the podium, winning gold in the women's 50m freestyle (S13) with a time of 27.85.
"It's the last night and I just wanted to medal, so I went for it," said Becherer. "Everyone's been swimming really fast and I knew that all of them would be competitive. The gold feels amazing -all my hard work has gone into it."
Taking home silver medals for Team USA were Cheryl Angelelli-Kornoelje (Clinton Township, Mich.) and Ashley Owens (Stockbridge, Ga.)
After winning silver in the women's 100m freestyle (S4) earlier in the week, Angelelli-Kornoelje came back to match it in the 50m free, her toughest race, with a time of 52.81. "I've been swimming so fast all week," said Angelelli-Kornoelje. "I knew that if I could stay relaxed and just go for it, I could do it."
Owens added a silver medal to her list of Beijing successes, taking silver in the women's 400m freestyle with a time of 4:38.11. Katarzyna Pawlik (POL) broke Owens' previous world record (4:39.44), winning gold in 4:33.15. "I knew it was going to be a close race," said Owens. "Getting the silver medal was fantastic and I couldn't be happier
Susan Beth Scott (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cape Girardeau, Mo.) joined her teammate on the medal stand to accept the bronze, her first Paralympic medal. "I've been training so hard for this and it feels great to be on the podium," said Scott. "I tried to go out as fast as I could and then hold it. It was my first medal ever and I'm really happy with it."
U.S. Results (Finals):
Men's 50m Backstroke (S1) - Grover Evans (Little Rock, Ark.) - 2:51.17 (6)
Men's 50m Backstroke (S2) - Curtis Lovejoy (Atlanta, Ga.) - 1:14.69 (6)
Men's 50m Backstroke (S3) - Michael DeMarco (San Diego, Calif.) - 1:03.03 (8)
Women's 50m Backstroke (S3) - Beth Kolbe (Tiffin, Ohio) - 1:17.97 (8)
Men's 400m Freestyle (S10) - Joe Wise (Menlo Park, Calif.) - 4:15.83 (5)
Women's 400m Freestyle (S10) - Ashley Owens (Stockbridge, Ga.) - 4:38.11 (2)
Women's 400m Freestyle (S10) - Susan Beth Scott (Colorado Springs, Colo./Cape Girardeau, Mo.) - 4:39.44 (3)
Women's 400m Freestyle (S10) - Anna Eames (Golden Valley, Minn.) - 4:43.98 (4)
Men's 50m Freestyle (S4) - Joe McCarthy (San Diego, Calif.) - 39.95 (5)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S4) - Cheryl Angelelli-Kornoelje (Clinton Township, Mich.) - 52.81 (2)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S4) - Aimee Bruder (Birmingham, Ala.) - 55.04 (5)
Men's 50m Freestyle (S5) - Roy Perkins (Del Mar, Calif.) - 34.61 (4)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S6) - Miranda Uhl (Alachua, Fla.) - 39.41 (7)
Women's 50m Freestyle (S13) - Kelley Becherer (Sheboygan, Wis) - 27.85 (1)
Men's 4x100m Medley Relay (34 point) - Justin Zook (Plymouth, Minn.), Jarrett Perry (Colorado Springs, Colo./Wichita, Kan.), Cody Bureau (Colorado Springs, Colo./Latrobe, Pa.), Lantz Lamback ( Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.) - 4:29.38 (7)
Men's 4x50m Medley Relay (20 point) - Lantz Lamback ( Colorado Springs, Colo./Augusta, Ga.), Dave Denniston (Longmont, Colo.), Roy Perkins (Del Mar, Calif.), Joe McCarthy (San Diego, Calif.) - 2:43.00 (4)
"I dropped nine seconds today so I'm really happy with that. Just to be here and swim that fast is amazing. I'm really happy with my performance tonight."
"I'm happy with my race. We have a really young team and we're going to be around for awhile to hold on to this."
"It was an amazing experience being here - being in this type of arena allowed me to see a whole new scale of competition. It makes me want to train harder and maybe come back in 2012. It was a great meet and an amazing experience to race in the Water Cube and watch my teammates have incredible races."
"That was the fastest heat we've ever had. I'm really happy to be a part of that. A lot of us are full-time athletes now and everyone in our class takes this event seriously. I'm a true competitor and I'm so proud of that, and to be an American representative on top of that is even better."
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.