Seven American Records Broken On Opening Day Of U.S. Paralympic Trials Swimming

By Joe Clarke | June 30, 2016, 9:30 p.m. (ET)


Tharon Drake was one of seven athletes to break an American or Pan American record on day one of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Swim Trials.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Road To Rio became even shorter on Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina as the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Swim Trials began at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Seven American records and three Pan American records were set during the first day of competition by seven different athletes with nine of the 10 total records coming in breaststroke events. 

The first American record of the day went to Garner Moss (Madison, Wisconsin) who accomplished the feat in the second event of the morning session with a time of 2:20.14 in the men's S14 200-meter freestyle.  

Fourteen-year-old Alexander Quesada-Amor (Miami Springs, Florida) was the next to ignite the crowd with a blistering American record of 1:22.40 in the men's SB14 100 breaststroke, also in the morning session.  

The opening portion of the day continued to yield record-breaking swims as London 2012 Paralympian Dalton Herendeen (Elkhart, Indiana) posted a new American and Pan American record in the men's SB8 100 breaststroke, coming in at 1:14.59. U.S. Paralympic resident team athlete Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico) closed the first session by breaking the American and Pan American records in the men's SB11 100 breaststroke, touching the wall at 1:10.85. 

Three more American records and one Pan American record were broken in the final session of day one, causing thunderous roars from the crowd on site. London 2012 Paralympian Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) was the first athlete of the session to add her name to the record books as she dropped nearly two second off her preliminary time, achieving a new American and Pan American record with a finishing time of 1:16.72 in the women's SB13 100 breaststroke.  

One heat later Leslie Cichocki (Palos Hills, Illinois) kept the success flowing by flashing a time of 1:30.63 on the results board, confirming a new American mark in the women's SB14 100 breaststroke.  

London 2012 Paralympian Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) concocted the final record of the afternoon with an impressive 1:23.39 in the men's SB7 100 breaststroke.  

U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Arizona) narrowly missed tying a world record in the women's SB7 100 breaststroke, falling .01 second shy of the record held by fellow competitor and 12-time Paralympic gold medalist, Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland). Long won Thursday's women's S8 400 freestyle and is looking to make her fourth U.S. Paralympic Team. 

Multiple event winners included Cichocki, Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games bronze medalist McClain Hermes (Dacula, Georgia), Toronto 2015 two-time medalist Sophia Herzog (Fairplay, Colorado) and six-time Paralympic medalist Roy Perkins Jr. (San Diego, California). 

Competition resumes on Friday with prelims and finals in the 50 backstroke, 100 butterfly, 50 butterfly and 50 freestyle. For full results, visit 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.