Annie Lazor smiles with her gold medal at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 8, 2019 in Lima, Peru
LIMA, Peru – Three-time Olympian and eight-time Olympic medalist Nathan Adrian said it best.
“Team USA is crushing it,” Adrian said of the Pan American Games Lima 2019.
On the third day of swimming events at the Aquatic Center in Videna National Sports Village, the national anthem of the United States was played six times, as Team USA secured six gold medals. Annie Lazor and Will Licon posted new Pan American records, and the U.S picked up an additional four silvers and one bronze to increase USA Swimming’s Pan American Games medal count to 30.
A 31st medal, a gold, in the mixed 4x100-meter medley, was taken away after the U.S. was disqualified for an illegal second dolphin kick during Cody Miller’s breaststroke turn. USA Swimming Press Officer Kara Raney described the issue.
“[It was] two dolphin kicks off the breaststroke turn,” Raney said. “Per Pan Am rules, we are not allowed to introduce video that is not from Pan Am Sports. Per the video that the team has seen, it disputes the call. But, unfortunately, per the rules, we cannot introduce our own video or a broadcast video. It has to be from Pan Am Sports.”
The most impressive results came from gold medalists Lazor and Licon. Lazor’s time of 2:21.40 in the women’s 200 breaststroke set the first of two Pan American records.
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“It’s great,” she said. “Records are records, and it’s probably going to get broken in four years from now. And that’s fine. Those are great. I’m just looking to take something from that race and move forward.”
Teammate Bethany Galat finished just 0.44 seconds behind her for silver.
Licon finished with a time of 2:07.62 in the men’s 200 breaststroke. This was also a Pan Am Games record, but he had no idea he completed the feat.
“Oh, was it?” he laughed. “I wasn’t really aware of what it was going into it.”
Nic Fink finished with a time of 2:08.16 for the silver medal in the same event.
The young U.S. squad, anchored by Adrian’s appearance, continued to impress throughout the night. Some took the time to describe how they’ll use it for the upcoming qualification events for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“I’m going to try to use it as a motivator,” 16-year-old gold medalist Phoebe Bacon said. “[One minute] is a hard time to break, and I want to stay under it for the rest of the year.”
Her time of 59.47 seconds was the only sub-one minute time posted during the women’s 100 backstroke.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Daniel Carr, the gold medalist in the men’s 100 backstroke, said. “This is just a stepping stone there. After this it’s back to the pool and training some more for Tokyo.”
“My team motivates me to get one person on the podium every event,” Mariah Denigan, the silver medalist of the women’s 800 freestyle, said.
Others, like Margo Geer, who won her third Pan Am Games medal tonight, appreciated this one a little bit more.
“This is the first time I’ve medaled individually at an international meet,” Geer said. “So it’s super special to me.”
Geer swam the women’s 100 freestyle in 54.17 seconds.
Not to be outdone, Andrew Abruzzo won gold in the men’s 800 free with a time of 7:54.70
And finally, in the most anticipated final of the night, the men’s 100 freestyle, Adrian touched the wall with a time of 48.17, earning the silver medal. He finished just eight-hundredths of a second behind Brazil’s Marcelo Chierighini. Nonetheless, Adrian was proud of where he finished in his second international event since being diagnosed with testicular cancer in January.
“If I’m being totally honest, I’m pretty pleased with where we’re at, all things considered,” Adrian said. “I know I need to be more than a half of a second faster next year. But with as much training as we got this year...to be able to come back and go 48.1, I’m pretty pleased with that.”