2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials - Swimming Preview

By Joe Clarke | June 28, 2016, 7:22 p.m. (ET)

Brad Snyder (top left), Jessica Long (top right), Cortney Jordan (bottom left) and Rudy Garcia-Tolson (bottom right) will all be in Charlotte June 30-July 2.

U.S. Paralympic history will be made in Charlotte, North Carolina this coming weekend as over 400 athletes journey to the Tar Heel state for the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials – Swimming and Track & Field. The Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center will play host to the action for the swimming portion of the trials with the world-class facility being no stranger to hosting high-caliber meets. The MCAC hosted a stop on the Arena Pro Swim Series this past May and is home to multiple elite swimmers. Not only will the city of Charlotte set the stage for a historic U.S. Paralympic Trials, but the city will have the potential to see American and world records fall over the three-day span.

Below are some of the marquee events to watch this Thursday through Saturday. All preliminary events will have mixed classes, seeded fastest to slowest, and finals will be separated by class and seeded by preliminary results.


Women’s 400 Freestyle
The third event of the Trials will feature the likes of 17-time Paralympic medalist Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland), 2012 Paralympian Rebecca Meyers (Timonium, Maryland), 2012 Paralympian McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia), 2016 National A Team member Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, North Carolina) and 2016 Emerging Team member Serafina King (Santa Monica, California). All five are the top-ranked swimmer in their respective classes.

Others to watch: Brickelle Bro (Castle Pines, Colorado), Cortney Jordan (Baltimore, Maryland), Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota).

Women’s 100 Breaststroke
The top three preliminary times in the women’s 100m breaststroke will feature three women from the same classification, a promising sign for early intensity on day one. Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri), Meyers and Martha Ruether (Allegany, New York) will be clashing for the top spot in the finals, with Young and Meyers coming into the meet only two seconds apart in qualifying times. While that is a significant amount of time in the sport of swimming, anything can happen at Trials.

Others to watch: Elizabeth Marks (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Letticia Martinez (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Reilly Boyt (Fort Collins, Colorado), Noga Nir-Kistler (Allentown, Pennsylvania), Haley Beranbaum (Colorado Springs, Colorado).

Men’s 100 Breaststroke
U.S. record-holder Tharon Drake (Colorado Springs, Colorado) looks to put a stamp on one of his top events, with hopes of making his first U.S. Paralympic Team. Drake will come across tough competition in the prelims with 2012 Paralympian Dalton Herendeen (Fredericksburg, Virginia) in the mix. The two are separated by a mere .01 seconds in their qualification times.

Others to watch: Rudy Garcia-Tolson (Bloomington, California), Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana), Lucas McCrory (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)


Men’s 100 Butterfly
2012 Paralympian and University of Southern California product Ian Silverman (Baltimore, Maryland) will be looking to make his second U.S. Paralympic Team. Silverman won gold in London in the 400 freestyle, while finishing sixth in 50 freestyle, seventh in 200 IM and 100 freestyle, and eighth in the 100 butterfly. Silverman, the owner of four world records, was classified out of the S10 in 2015, but was successfully reclassified in June 2016.

Others to watch: Brad Snyder (Baltimore, Maryland), Garcia-Tolson

Women’s 50 Freestyle
A traditionally popular event, the 50 freestyle always bodes well for phenomenal races. Meyers, Ruether and Young enter the meet separated by .25 seconds, with Meyers and Ruether only .01 second apart. With all three in the same class, fans in attendance will be treated to seeing lightning strike twice.

Others to watch: Michelle Konkoly (Naples, Florida), Caitlin Currie (Danvers, Massachusetts), Aspden, Natalie Sims (Edina, Minnesota), Coan, Alyssa Gialamas (Naperville, Illinois)

Men’s 50 Freestyle
The men’s 50 freestyle promises to mimic the intensity of the women’s. Silverman enters as the top seed with Raleigh native Tucker Dupree only .38 behind. With the two being in different classes they will not meet in the finals, but there may be no water left in the pool after the battle. Three-time Paralympic medalist, including a gold medal in the 100 freestyle in 2012, and Navy veteran Snyder hopes to impose his will on the event where he finished second in London.

Others to watch: Jamie Sclater (Carlsbad, California), Austin, Garcia-Tolson, Zachary Shattuck (Mt. Airy, Maryland)


Women’s 100 Free
The S8 class will feature tough competition as Long, Weggemann and Bro make up the top three of the class. Long has owned the event at the Paralympic Games, winning gold in Athens, Beijing and London. The 12-time gold medalist will look to get closer to a world record in one of the few freestyle events where she does not own it.

Others to watch: Meyers, Ruether, Konkoly, Coan, Bro, Jordan, Martinez, Nir-Kistler, Gialamas

Men’s 100 Free
Regardless of class, the men’s 100 freestyle is crowded at the top when it comes to fast times. Dupree, Silverman and Snyder will provide fireworks being less than a second away from each other. Austin leads an S8 class that will also produce some lightning with Garcia-Tolson and Ryan Duelmer (Colorado Springs, Colorado) lurking. Two-time Paralympian Roy Perkins, Jr. (San Diego, California) hopes to continue owning the event that earned him a silver medal in the S5 class at the London Games.

Others to watch: McCrory, Shattuck, Joseph Peppersack (Hopewell, Virginia)

Women’s 100 Back
The penultimate event of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials will feature a tight race in the women’s S9 100 backstroke. Aspden and Elizabeth Smith (Baltimore, Maryland) are within .25 seconds of each other, proving that it is anyone’s race. The S8 class also looks to impress with Long, Ahalya Lettenberg (Glen Ellyn, Illinois), Marks and Weggemann all looking to compete for the top spot.

Find the full schedule for the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials – Swimming at USParalympics.org/2016TeamTrials.
The 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials – Swimming and Track & Field are being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, June 30 – July 2, and are hosted by Partners for Parks. Thanks to support from The Coca-Cola Company, BP, and Deloitte, the multi-sport Trials feature more than 400 athletes who are competing for a chance to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit USParalympics.org/2016TeamTrials.