Hannah Aspden, Mikaela Jenkins, Jessica Long and Morgan Stickney pose during the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Sept. 2, 2021 in Tokyo.
Hannah Aspden is no longer the baby of the U.S. Paralympic swim team, the one who became the youngest swimmer to medal at either the Olympics or Paralympics in Rio in 2016 at the age of 16.
She was a two-time bronze medalist back then.
Now 21, she’s also a two-time gold medalist following Team USA’s win in the women’s 4x100-meter medley 34-point relay along with Mikaela Jenkins, Jessica Long and Morgan Stickney. Theirs was the second medal performance of the day by U.S. swimmers at the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, following Lizzi Smith’s silver in the women’s 100-meter butterfly S9. Summer Schmit was in the pool along with Smith and finished sixth.
“It's absolutely incredible,” said Aspden, a Raleigh, North Carolina, native who also won the 100-meter backstroke S9. “I came into the Games just being so thankful I had this opportunity to be able to compete. I didn't think I would be going home with a medal, never mind two gold medals. To be able to stand here with these amazing girls is incredible. I'm so proud of them.”
The U.S. squad went from fourth to first in the final 100 meters of the race.
For the U.S., it was a bit of redemption following disqualification in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay on Sunday. But veteran Paralympian Long, who’s now won two gold, two silver and one bronze medal in Tokyo, wasn’t surprised.
“We are so good at putting challenges and obstacles behind us,” said Long, who now has 28 medals, second most of any U.S. Paralympian. “And that was a couple days ago. We were really focused on the medley, and we each have our strengths. I’m really proud of us because we stepped up and we controlled the controllables. We did everything in our power and control to be the best we could be, and the outcome speaks for itself.”