World records fall on final day of U.S. Paralympics Swimming Can-Am Open

By Brianna Tammaro | Dec. 14, 2015, 7 p.m. (ET)
Robert Griswold competes in the men's 200-meter IM at the 2015 U.S. Paralympics Swimming Spring Can-Am Open on Mar. 21, 2015 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre.

BISMARCK, N.D. – Saving the best for the finale, Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey), McClain Hermes (Dacula, Georgia) and Elizabeth Smith (Muncie, Indiana) closed out the 2015 U.S. Paralympics Swimming Can-Am Open by setting world records on the third and final day at the BSC Aquatic and Wellness Center. The event took place Dec. 10-12 in Bismarck, North Dakota and in addition to world marks, featured 17 American records.

Griswold dominated in the men’s C8 classification, winning six events: 400-meter freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley, 100 backstroke, 100 freestyle and 200 back. The highlight of his Can-Am performance came in the 200 back where he broke his own world record by two seconds, finishing with a time of 2:22.04. The previous record was recently set in May at the 2015 Cincinnati Para-Swimming Open.

Griswold, 19, was one of the youngest members of the U.S. team at the 2015 IPC Swimming World Championships in Glasgow this past July. The freshman at Carson Newman University won a bronze medal in the men’s S8 400 freestyle and with his world record at Can-Ams, proves he’s an athlete to watch on the road to Rio.

“It was my first big meet with my new college team and I am excited to prove that I am going to be a factor in multiple events going into next year," Griswold said.

The future looks bright for Hermes, who captured an impressive seven gold medals and a world record in the women’s S12 class. It didn’t take long for Hermes to rewrite the record books after setting the 1500 free record in June at the Jimi Flowers Classic, which she improved by nearly a minute. She swept her events as the sole competitor with wins in the 400 free, 200 IM, 100 back, 50 free, 100 free, 100 breast and 1500 free. In August, Hermes represented Team USA at the Parapan American Games in Toronto where she took home her first international medal with bronze in the 400 free.

Smith shined after breaking the previous 50 butterfly world mark by Spain’s Sarai Gascon in April 2015 by a tenth of a second. She took home five total medals in Bismarck, winning the 50 butterfly, 100 butterfly and 100 back. Smith was also a member of the U.S. Swimming World Championship Team for Glasgow and currently trains in Baltimore with teammates Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) and Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Maryland) at Loyola University.

Team USA put its stamp on the competition in Bismarck, collecting 17 American records in the pool led by Leslie Cichocki (Palos Hills, Illinois) with four, Zach Shattuck (Mt. Airy, Maryland) with three and Griswold with three. More than 200 athletes from Canada, Australia, Brazil, China, Cuba, France, Japan, Korea and Russia gathered for the event. For full results, visit the U.S. Paralympics website.