Victoria Arlen awes on final day of swimming
LONDON – In the final night of competition at the Aquatic Center, the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team picked up three more medals to round out their total at 41 for the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Victoria Arlen, Kelley Becherer and Roy Perkins all finished on the podium for Team USA.
Arlen won her fourth medal in these Games in world record fashion, finishing the 100 meter freestyle (S6) in a time of 1:13.33. This is her first Paralympic Games, and she never would have expected to have such success.
“It feels incredible to come home with four medals and a world record and personal best times,” she said. “It’s more than I would have even expected. I feel so much pride. Today and every day I swam for all those people that helped me get here and for all the people that are dealing with something and need some hope. I’m excited to share this with the world and it’s just amazing – I’m so thankful.”
Becherer did not expect to medal in her final event, but she swam a best time in the 100m breaststroke (SM13) to finish with bronze; her fourth medal in her fourth event.
“It was a fun race,” she said. “It was a complete shock. I have been working on breaststroke the last couple of months knowing that the 100 breaststroke was one of our only events, so it felt good to do that.”
Since it was the final night of competition for the swimmers, Becherer summed up the experience by saying, “It’s been amazing. I just love being with my team and my friends, racing fast and all best times. It can’t get much better.”
Perkins is also a multiple medalist in London, and he finished his Games experience with a silver medal in the 100m freestyle, touching the wall in 1:14.78.
“I felt pretty good the whole way,” he said. “I was expecting a medal and I knew I had a good shot at silver. I pulled through so I’m very happy.”
Since it was the final day of events at the pool, Perkins described what most swimmers were probably feeling. “I’m pretty burned out so I’m glad it’s over,” he said. “But I’m sad, because it was a great time.”
The U.S. Paralympic Team flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony, Brad Snyder, swam in his final event of the meet as well, finishing sixth in the 200m IM (S11).
“It was a real fun race. I’m gaining a real sturdy appreciation for other athletes in the S11 category,” he said. “It was fun to race against them, and all and all it was a great note to end the meet on.”
Like most athletes, the swimmers will congregate in the Olympic Stadium Sunday night to take part in the Closing Ceremony.