Jessica Long now has four gold medals and two silvers from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
LONDON ― It was another big night in the pool for the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team as it collected five more medals: two gold, one silver and two bronze.
The team was again led by Jessica Long (Baltimore, Md.) who collected her fourth gold medal and sixth overall medal of these Games, this time in the 200 meter IM (SM8). After breaking the Paralympic record in the morning prelims with a time of 2:40.42, Long went even faster tonight with a time of 2:37.09.
Although Long took control of the race early, she did receive a slight challenge from Russia’s Olesya Vladykina at the 150m mark, something that caught Long off guard.
“I didn’t know she was that close, honestly. So I realized I needed to pick it up,” said Long.
After kicking it into high gear after the last turn Long cruised to victory beating Vladykina, who finished second, by 1.37.
Also claiming gold tonight was first-time Paralympian Ian Silverman (Baltimore, Md.) who swam in one of the more hotly contested events of the night, the 400m freestyle.
After taking the lead at the 200m mark, Silverman was overtaken at the 250m mark before again taking the lead at the 300m mark and not looking back.
For Silverman, the race took all that he had as he left it all in the pool.
“I just wanted to be in the race,” said an emotional Silverman after the race. “My game plan was with 150m left to just take off and I feel like I executed that pretty well.”
Next to medal for the Americans tonight was Susan Scott (Cape Girardeau, Mo.) who matched her performance in Beijing by again winning bronze in the 400m freestyle in a time of 4:37.23.
The race involved stiff competition and after holding the lead for more than 250m, Scott was eventually overtaken by Elodie Lorandi of France and Aurelie Rivard of Canada who finished first and second with times of 4:34.55 and 4:36.46, respectively.
The race and winning her second career bronze medal nearly left Scott speechless as she struggled to find the words to describe the race.
“It was incredible. To be there in front of so many people was just great,” said Scott. “This feels so great; it’s a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Also winning bronze for the U.S. tonight was Noga Nir-Kistler (Allentown, Pa.) who is competing in her second Paralympics, but first in swimming (Nir-Kistler competed in table tennis at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games).
Nir-Kistler competed in the 100m breastroke (SB5) and swam a solid race, finishing in 1:50.76.
World record holder Kristen Bruhn of Germany ran away with the title with a time of 1:35.50 while China’s Lingling Song was second at 1:47.19.
For Nir-Kistler, competing this well in the Games was extremely satisfying with tonight serving as a turning point in her career.
“This a great push forward, it’s all going to get better from here. Tonight was my best time by more than four seconds,” said Nir-Kistler.
Finishing out the American’s big night in the pool was Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, N.C.) who shocked everyone in the 100m backstroke (S12) after moving from fifth place to second in the final 50 meters of his race to collect silver, his second medal of these Games after winning bronze in the 100m freestyle (S12) yesterday.
For Dupree, who was feeling relaxed and upbeat throughout the day, winning a second medal was thrilling.
“Tonight was really fun,” said the energetic 23-year old. “I got the monkey off my back last night winning the bronze medal so going into this race I just wanted to focus on my race plan and it worked. I am really happy with the way I raced.”
Dupree will now take this momentum into his next race, the 50m free (S12), an event he is approaching in the same way he did tonight’s race.
“I have been going into every race to have a good time and if I get a best time that’s perfect because it means I left it all in the pool.”
Team USA’s five medals tonight now raise the overall tally to 30, second most in by any country in the swimming competition, just behind China who has 40 swimming medals.
Swimming continues Thursday from the Aquatics Center.