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McKenzie Coan Leads Team USA's Three-Medal Day In The Pool With 50-Meter Freestyle Gold

By Joe Clarke | Sept. 09, 2016, 8:26 p.m. (ET)

McKenzie Coan celebrates on the podium at the medal ceremony for the women's 50-meter freestyle S7 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on Sept. 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Team USA added three more medals to its tally at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in the Friday-night edition of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia) forged gold in the women’s S7 50m freestyle, Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Maryland) tied for silver in the men’s S11 100m backstroke and Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) extended her Paralympic Games medal total to 19 with a bronze in the women’s S8 100m butterfly.

Coan was the first American to stand on the podium Friday evening, winning her first-career Paralympic Games medal after topping the competition in the women’s S7 50m freestyle with a time of 32.42. 

"I am so excited for my first major medal to be gold,” Coan said. “It is absolutely insane. Me and my coach have been working on sprints all the time. Every single day we do something off the blocks fast and that really gave me the confidence to go out there knowing I could do that. My body goes on autopilot and I don't have to think about it.”

The gold marked Team USA’s second of the Games in the pool as Coan set a new Paralympic record in the event. The Georgia native broke her own Paralympic record of 32.57 that she set just hours prior in the preliminary heats. Teammate Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nevada) took fourth in the race, touching the wall at 33.33.

Snyder (Baltimore, Maryland), a U.S. Naval veteran, won his first medal of the Games after a tie for second place in the men’s S11 100m backstroke, sharing the silver medal with Poland’s Wojciech Makowski. Snyder’s time of 1:08.28 came second to a new world record of 1:06.66 by Ukrainian Dmytro Zalevskyi. Snyder now has four Paralympic medals, having won two gold medals and a silver at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) continued to add to her historic medal total, manufacturing her 19th overall Paralympic medal with a bronze in the women’s S8 100m butterfly. She is now tied with Paralympian Erin Popovich for second all-time in U.S. women’s Paralympic Games history for individual medals. Trischa Zorn is the U.S. and all-time Paralympic Games medal leader with 46 total, including 32 gold, nine silver and five bronze medals. American counterpart Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota) finished seventh in the event, swimming to a time of 1:17.41.

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Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) finished eighth in the men’s version of the S8 100m butterfly, finishing with a mark of 1:07.75. The two-time Paralympian will continue his quest for his first Paralympic medal with three events remaining on his schedule.

Natalie Sims (Minneapolis, Minnesota) came in eighth place in her Paralympic Games debut, posting a time of 5:04.88 in the women’s S9 400m freestyle final. Sims is slated to swim three more events with the 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly still on the docket.

Day 3 of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games swimming competition begins with the preliminary session, starting at 9:30 a.m. BRT/8:30 a.m. ET. Finals start at 5:30 p.m. BRT/4:30 p.m. ET.

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McKenzie Coan

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Bradley Snyder

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Jessica Long