((L-R) Nathan Adrian and Michael Chadwick shake hands at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 08, 2019 in Lima, Peru
LIMA, Peru – USA Swimming continued its habit of podium visits at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. Friday was another successful day as the U.S. won two gold, three silver and two bronze medals at the Aquatic Center in Videna National Sports Village to boost its total medal count to 37.
Charlie Swanson was responsible for the first of the United States’ two gold medals on the evening. He entered the men’s 400-meter medley with by far the best qualifying time of 4:16.66. That dominance of the field continued in the final as his time of 4:11.46 was 7.95 seconds faster than silver medalist Leonardo Coelho of Brazil’s 4:19.41. Brandonn Cruz, also of Brazil, rounded out the podium with a time of 4:21.10 for the bronze.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Swanson said. “I’ve never medaled at an international competition before. Everyone was telling me I looked really smooth this morning (in qualifications), so I just tried to stay strong. I turned out a pretty good time. It’s an honor.”
The second gold medal of the evening came from the women’s 4x200 freestyle relay team of Claire Rasmus, Alex Walsh, Sarah Gibson and Meaghan Raab. Rasmus, Walsh and Gibson did their part to establish and maintain a lead, but Canada was right on their heels as Raab dove in to anchor the relay. In her first 50 meters, she grew the lead to 1.86 seconds. She finished strong to secure the gold with a team total time of 7:57.33.
“I’ve been in that position before,” Raab said. “I’ve anchored relays before, I’m used to being in that situation. I knew I could rely on my teammates and we would be where we needed to be. For me, it’s really exciting to get to do what I love most and to represent the U.S.A. with these girls. It’s truly been an honor.”
Canada finished second with a time of 7:59.16, and Brazil collected bronze with a time of 8:07.77.
While the two gold medals came toward the end of the day, there was still plenty to celebrate for the U.S. earlier in the evening. In the women’s 50 free, Margo Geer and Madison Kennedy finished second and third, respectively, to get the United States off on the right foot. Geer’s time of 25.03 was five tenths of a second better than her qualifying time. As for Kennedy, who earned the fastest qualifying time of 25.46, a time of 25.14 in the finals was still a success.
A similar situation took place in the men’s 50 free. Michael Chadwick, the top qualifying performer at a time of 21.95, finished with the bronze when his final time of 21.99 couldn’t quite keep pace. Ahead of him on the podium was Nathan Adrian, whose qualifying time of 22.12 was only third best. His final time of 21.87 earned him the silver medal behind Bruno Giuseppe’s gold medal-winning time of 21.61.
“It feels good, man,” Adrian said. “Anytime you race you want to win, of course. The cool thing here is that if you get second, you get a silver medal. It was important for me to get here to experience the environment. As much experience as I have, it’s important to get that international racing atmosphere every year.”
The U.S. missed the podium in the women’s 400 medley, but that isn’t to say there wasn’t a stellar United States effort. Allie Szekely entered the final in the eighth lane. Her qualifying time of 4:57.14 was slowest of those that made the finals. In the finals, however, Szekely showed determination to prove herself. Her final time of 4:45.29 was fourth best, just short of the podium. But it was a marked improvement over her qualifying time.
“I wish I would have been a little bit faster and gotten a medal for the USA,” Szekely said. “This morning wasn’t my greatest. I just came into tonight with confidence.”
Mariah Denigan, the other U.S. competitor in the event, finished fifth with a time of 4:48.47. Tessa Cieplucha of Canada took home the gold with a time of 4:39.90. Argentina’s Virginia Bardach earned silver with a time of 4:41.05, and Mary-Sophie Harvey of Canada earned bronze with her time of 4:43.20.
The men’s 4x200 free was the final event of the night for Team USA. The quartet of Drew Kibler, Grant House, Sam Pomajevich and Chris Wieser earned silver with a time of 7:14.82. Wieser put up a valiant effort in the final leg to try to make up some ground. But Brazil’s time of 7:10.66 set a Pan American record for the event. Mexico rounded out the podium with a time of 7:19.43.
“Honestly, I was just focused on getting my hand on the wall,” Wieser said. “Seeing Brazil with a lead, I just wanted to push it forward and try to catch him. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get it done but, with these guys, it’s just fun to get out there and race.”