Tharon Drake competes in the men's 400-meter freestyle multi-class finals at the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Trials For Swimming at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center on July 1, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Road To Rio became even shorter on Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina as the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Swim Trials began at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Seven American records and three Pan American records were set during the first day of competition by seven different athletes with nine of the 10 total records coming in breaststroke events.
The first American record of the day went to Garner Moss (Madison, Wisconsin) who accomplished the feat in the second event of the morning session with a time of 2:20.14 in the men's S14 200-meter freestyle.
Fourteen-year-old Alexander Quesada-Amor (Miami Springs, Florida) was the next to ignite the crowd with a blistering American record of 1:22.40 in the men's SB14 100 breaststroke, also in the morning session.
The opening portion of the day continued to yield record-breaking swims as London 2012 Paralympian Dalton Herendeen (Elkhart, Indiana) posted a new American and Pan American record in the men's SB8 100 breaststroke, coming in at 1:14.59. U.S. Paralympic resident team athlete Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico) closed the first session by breaking the American and Pan American records in the men's SB11 100 breaststroke, touching the wall at 1:10.85.Three more American records and one Pan American record were broken in the final session of day one, causing thunderous roars from the crowd on site. London 2012 Paralympian Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) was the first athlete of the session to add her name to the record books as she dropped nearly two second off her preliminary time, achieving a new American and Pan American record with a finishing time of 1:16.72 in the women's SB13 100 breaststroke.
One heat later Leslie Cichocki (Palos Hills, Illinois) kept the success flowing by flashing a time of 1:30.63 on the results board, confirming a new American mark in the women's SB14 100 breaststroke.
London 2012 Paralympian Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) concocted the final record of the afternoon with an impressive 1:23.39 in the men's SB7 100 breaststroke.
U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Arizona) narrowly missed tying a world record in the women's SB7 100 breaststroke, falling .01 second shy of the record held by fellow competitor and 12-time Paralympic gold medalist, Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland). Long won Thursday's women's S8 400 freestyle and is looking to make her fourth U.S. Paralympic Team.
Multiple event winners included Cichocki, Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games bronze medalist McClain Hermes (Dacula, Georgia), Toronto 2015 two-time medalist Sophia Herzog (Fairplay, Colorado) and six-time Paralympic medalist Roy Perkins Jr. (San Diego, California).