RIO DE JANEIRO – Lightning struck for the second night in a row at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium courtesy of U.S. sprinter Michelle Konkoly (Eagleville, Pennsylvania) as she forged her second gold medal of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Konkoly was one of six Americans to find their way to the medal stand Tuesday night and Team USA now has 24 total medals in the pool with 10 gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.
Konkoly pulled away from the field in the women’s S9 50-meter freestyle with a scorching time of 28.29, setting a new Paralympic record in the event having just broken it hours before in the preliminary heats. She completed the sprint freestyle sweep with the 50 freestyle victory after setting the world record in the 100 freestyle yesterday with a time of 1:00.91. Konkoly is now finished with individual events and is vying for a spot on a relay.
"The 50 (freestyle) is anybody's race so I just had to go into it and give it the best I had," Konkoly said. When asked about coming close to breaking the 28-second barrier, she noted, "I don't know what the future holds for me, but right now I'm just so happy to have gotten that gold medal."
Rudy Garcia-Tolson (Bloomington, California) stood on the podium for the first time in Rio by winning the first American medal of the night, a silver in the men’s SM7 200 individual medley at 2:33.87. Garcia-Tolson came in second to Ievgenii Bogodaiko, Ukraine, who set a world record in the event with a 2:30.72. The four-time Paralympian now has a total of five Paralympic medals including two gold, two silver and one bronze medal.
Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico) took second in the men’s SB11 100 breaststroke for Team USA’s second silver medal of the night. Drake, who is a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, recorded his second silver of the Games with a time of 1:11.50. Drake won silver in the men’s SB11 400 freestyle earlier in the meet and will look to add more hardware in the 100 freestyle and the 200 individual medley.
Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) amassed the 21st medal of her Paralympic career with a bronze in the women’s S8 100 backstroke. Long crafted a time of 1:18.12 to add to her collection and held off Australian Lakeisha Patterson to make her way onto the medal stand. She will compete in the final two days of the competition with the 50 freestyle and 200 individual medley. Her career total now reads as 12 gold, five silver and four bronze.
Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nevada) garnered her tenth-career Paralympic Games medal with a bronze in the women’s SM7 200 individual medley. The Nevada native touched with a time of 3:04.17 to retain the seed from her morning preliminary result. With the bronze sending her into double-digit career medals, she has one gold, six silver and three bronze medals to her name. Jordan will also compete in the 400 and 100 freestyle events in Rio.
Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey) produced his first Paralympic Games medal with a bronze in the men’s S8 100 backstroke, coming in at 1:04.68. Griswold came in on the heels of Great Britain swimmer Oliver Hynd, who touched at 1:04.46 for silver. The Carson-Newman University student-athlete has the 200 individual medley still to come in Rio.
Letticia Martinez (Las Cruces, New Mexico) raced in the women’s SB11 100 breaststroke, an event that went straight to final with no preliminary in the morning session. Martinez came in at a time of 1:38.22 to take sixth place. She still has the 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley ahead of her.
United States Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Arizona) raced with Long in the women’s S8 100 backstroke, manufacturing a 1:22.67 for eighth place. She will look to add to her gold medal from the S8 100 breaststroke in the 200 individual medley on the last day of competition.
Swimming competition begins on Wednesday 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.
Visit USParalympics.org/Rio2016 for more information on Team USA at the Paralympic Games, including athlete bios, schedule and live streaming. Follow the U.S. Paralympic team on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.