TORONTO – Katie Meili (Colleyville, Texas) in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke, Josh Schneider (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the men’s 50m free and Nick Thoman (Cincinnati, Ohio) in the 100m back won Pan American Games gold medals for Team USA on Friday at the Pan Am/Parapan Am Aquatics Centre.
After cruising past the Pan American Games record in the morning prelims in 1 minute, 5.64 seconds, good for the second-fastest time in the world this year, Meili came from behind to win gold tonight in the 100m breast.
She was second at the turn but pulled ahead of silver medalist Alia Atkinson of Jamaica down the stretch to top the podium in 1:06.26. Atkinson was second in 1:06.59, and Canada’s Rachel Nicol finished third in 1:07.91.
|Watch the Pan American Games on the networks of ESPN.|
“I feel really good about those performances. I’ve definitely had my sights on this meet since making this team last year,” Meili said. “I really wanted to win a medal; I really wanted to win gold but I knew it was going to take a fast time but I was a less concerned about the time and more about the race. This morning I was really blown away and happy with that time.”
Thoman won gold in the men’s 100m back in a Pan American Games record 53.20. Teammate Eugene Godsoe (Greensboro, N.C.) touched in 53.96 for bronze, with Brazil’s Guilherme Guido winning silver in 53.35. “My goal was definitely to break the record,” Thoman said. I knew it was doable if I had a good swim.”
In the final event of the night, Schneider sprinted to the win in the 50m free in 21.86 to out-touch Brazil’s Bruno Fratus, who grabbed silver in 21.91. George Bovell of Trinidad & Tobago was third in 22.17. “Sometimes it’s about getting your hand on the wall, and today I did that and I’m very happy to walk away with the gold,” Scheider said.
In the night’s first two events, Team USA put all four swimmers on the podium. In the 100m back, Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill.) won silver in 1:00.06, with Clara Smiddy (Miami, Fla.) taking the bronze in 1:00.49. The men followed suit with Thoman’s gold in the 100m back, followed by Godsoe’s bronze.
Natalie Coughlin (Vallejo, Calif.) won her second individual medal of the meet after taking bronze in the 50m free in 24.66 for a personal best by 0.24 seconds. Other medalists for Team USA on the night included Ryan Feeley (Rye, N.Y.), who claimed silver in the men’s 400m free in 3:49.69, and Gillian Ryan (Kutztown, Pa.), bronze medalist in the women’s 400m free in 4:09.46.
After four days of pool competition, Team USA owns 25 medals – nine gold, seven silver and nine bronze.
In other A final action Friday, Kiera Janzen (White Bear Lake, Minn.) was fifth in the women’s 400m free in 4:11.32, Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) was fourth in the men’s 400m free in 3:50.53 and Annie Lazor (Beverly Hills, Mich.) was fifth in the women’s 100m breast in 1:08.72.
In the men’s 100m breast, Brad Craig (Midland, Mich.) took fifth in 1:01.34, and BJ Johnson (Seattle, Wash.) was seventh in 1:01.77. Madison Kennedy (Avon, Conn.) was fifth in the women’s race in 24.80, and Cullen Jones (Irvington, N.J.) touched fifth in the men’s race in 22.23.