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In Final Race In Rio, Jessica Long Wins Long-Awaited Paralympic Gold

By Joe Clarke | Sept. 17, 2016, 10:01 p.m. (ET)

Jessica Long celebrates winning the women's 200-meter IM SM8 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Sept. 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO – Team USA finished the swimming competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Saturday night at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium and took fourth overall in swimming medals after 10 days of competition. The 37-medal haul included 14 gold, 14 silver and nine bronze medals with a gold and silver crafted on the final day. Only China, first with 92 medals, Ukraine, 74 medals, and Great Britain, 47 medals, topped the American squad. The red, white and blue held off Australia to secure fourth as the team from down under compiled 29 medals. The 37 medals is the 10th-highest Paralympic Games total in the water for the U.S. since the Paralympic Games began in 1960.

Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) found victory in the women’s SM8 200-meter individual medley, taking gold with a time of 2:40.23. The medal signaled the 13th gold of her now 23-medal Paralympic career, as well as her sixth medal in Rio. Long won silver in the 400 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and the 4x100 34 pt. freestyle relay, while snatching bronze in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. Long is the second most-decorated Paralympian in U.S. history.

"Instant relief,” Long noted. “It's been the longest 10 days. It's the last race and I finished with a gold. There's been no pressure, it's just that I wanted to leave with - a gold."

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Fellow compatriot Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota) swam with Long in the 200 individual medley to a fifth-place time of 2:48.95. Weggemann endured seven races over the 10-day span, making the finals in the 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley, placing fifth in the 100 breaststroke as well as the 200 individual medley. 

Roy Perkins (Del Mar, California) manufactured the second American medal of the night with a silver in the men’s S5 100 freestyle. The raucous crowd on hand welcomed the finals heat with Perkins squaring off against Brazilian Daniel Dias. Perkins constructed his second-place finish in a time 1:14.55 to garner his fourth medal in Rio. Perkins won gold in the 50 butterfly, silver in the 200 freestyle, and bronze in the 50 freestyle before winning tonight’s silver. Perkins jettisoned his career total to 10 medals with the four he earned in Rio, leaving him with two gold, four silver and four bronze.

Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey) made his fourth finals appearance of the Games, this time in the men’s SM8 200 individual medley. The first-time Paralympian raced to a time of 2:26.99 for fourth. Griswold won bronze in the 100 backstroke earlier in the meet and took fifth in the 400 freestyle and sixth in the 4x100 34 pt. freestyle relay.

Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) also raced to a fourth-place finish, pressing to the wall with a time of 1:12.93 in the women’s SB13 100 backstroke. Young came within .68 of a second for her second bronze in Rio, having placed third in the 100 breaststroke on day four of the meet. She also made the final in the 200 individual medley earlier in the meet. 

Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, North Carolina) capped off his Rio Games with a fifth-place finish in the men’s S12 50 freestyle, touching the wall at 24.49. The three-time Paralympian competed in three events at the Rio Games, making the finals in each. He claimed a bronze medal in the men’s 100 backstroke. Dupree leaves Rio with four career Paralympic Games medals to his name, one silver and three bronze.

Griswold also swam in the men’s 4x100 34 pt. medley relay alongside Dalton Herendeen (Elkhart, Indiana), Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) and Tye Dutcher (Merced, California). The quartet finished in sixth place with a time of 4:25.50.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games officially come to an end with the Closing Ceremony tomorrow night at Maracanã Stadium, starting at 8:00 p.m. BRT/7:00 p.m. ET.

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Jessica Long

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Mallory Weggemann

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Roy Perkins

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Colleen Young